Love That Dog In English Literature

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The first poem in the collection is Collins’ own “Introduction to Poetry,” a humorous description of how people treat poems and a useful technique to explore poems. Tania Runyan wrote How to Read a Poem based on “Introduction,” and “poetry how-to” books are useful for a teacher who wants to move beyond exposure, or for a teacher whose students have read poems and are now demanding answers regarding them. Although her list is slightly dated now, Colleen Ruggieri’s favorite books and websites are interesting and useful to other teachers. An educator should not hail these books like Bibles, but students should be taught to explore poems while reading. Runyan’s guide is a great model because she explains the techniques thoroughly, provides her…show more content…
Students see poetry in a new form, and those who do not like to read may not be as intimidated by verse as they are by seemingly long books. Plus, a novel allows a reader more time to focus on the voice of the poet and helps her cultivate her own poetic voice (Schmidt 92). Although Love That Dog is for middle grades students, it is a common book in verse and focuses on poetry. The protagonist reads poems in his class and shares his negative views, yet because he is forced by his teacher, he writes his own poems and discovers the process helps him cope with the loss of his dog. The protagonist in Coaltown Jesus is coping with the loss of his brother, and Ron Koertge created both a secular book that students would enjoy and a book of Christian fiction for middle schoolers entering youth group or discovering faith after Bible school. While juvenile, these books are emotional and will resonate with students. Similarly, Ellen Hopkins’ Crank series is for secondary students and describes difficult issues including substance abuse and self-harm. The books not only tackle difficult personal issues, but also show students how to use poetry to convey emotions and cope. Other novels, though, are not heart-wrenching. Song of the Sparrow by Lisa Ann Sandell is a retelling of an Arthurian legend and would serve as an excellent pairing to engage students in historical texts like Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. In…show more content…
Would memorization of poems or paragraphs of prose assist retention, and if so, should teachers require students to memorize and recite poetry? Many educators and professors memorized poetry in their educations, but “because it has always been taught” is not enough justification. The act of memorization is beneficial for certain contexts and for the brain. In her article, Lisa Van Gemert said memorization helps people learn English syntax and widen their vocabularies, and she included links to resources like Poetry 180 for the reader to begin memorizing! Memorizing more and more information creates new neural pathways and assists in neural plasticity. However, memorization can be an obstacle in the classroom. A student does not understand a concept only because she memorized it, and too often memorization leads to forgetting. Benjamin Bloom revolutionized education with his taxonomy at which knowledge or remembering is the lowest level because students can passively remember ideas. Educators attempt to scaffold students onto the taxonomy’s higher levels like application and evaluation, so many shy away from explicit memorization, but it can be useful in the classroom. Reciting poetry is an exercise in public speaking and presentational skills because students give speeches in class anyway, and memorizing a poem gives a sense of
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