Have you ever wondered how in the world you are supposed to teach ALL of those required standards in a single year?? I know I have!! (Like… every single year that I’ve taught!!) They keep giving teachers more and more to standards teach, and it seems like they also keep taking more and more instructional time away. So, how do you make it happen? Well, in my preschool classroom I have always used poetry! The kiddos love it, I can cover a ton of standards with it, AND it is critical in laying the foundation the kiddos need to become successful readers! I have always started my shared reading routine on the FIRST day of school, and these back-to-school poems are the perfect way to do it!
When I use poems in my classroom, there are three different formats I ALWAYS use! We read the poems in a pocket chart, on poetry cards, and in printable readers. I always introduce a new poem in the pocket chart. “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is one of my favorites for back-to-school!
We have a whole shared reading routine that we run through (which could be a whole post on its own!). I read the poem to the kiddos, we echo read it, and we choral read it. Then we do a variety of readings and activities with the same poem each day to focus on different skills. We work on concepts of print (tracking top to bottom and left to right, one-to-one correspondence, the difference between letter and words), phonological awareness (rhyming, beginning sounds, ending sounds, syllables, phoneme blending), fluency (reading with the correct speed and expression), letter names, letter sounds, sight words, and countless other skills. I could go on for days, but I won’t! (Now do you see why I use and love poetry so much???) Do I do all those things a single day? NO!!!! I rarely even do them all with the same poem. But, when you always have a poem in your pocket chart, and you use them daily, these skills can built into your normal routines, and the kiddos just think they’re having fun with a poem!
Once the kiddos are familiar with the poem, I pull out the poetry card. I use them in color and in black and white. “Five Little Crayons” happens to be a poem I wrote myself! You are MORE than welcome to use it in your classroom, but please don’t claim it as your own or share it without proper credit!
The color version always gets laminated and goes in the reading center. Sometimes it’s in a tub with other poetry cards. Sometimes it’s on a wall or cabinet. Sometimes it’s added to a binder of poetry cards. But, it always goes somewhere in the reading center! And, I make a big production of putting each one in the reading center so the kiddos will get excited about reading them!
The black & white version is for poetry folders. Each kiddo has a three-prong folder that all of their poetry cards go in. They can color the pictures on their poetry card before we add it to the folder. And, depending on the time of year and the needs of the kiddos, they can also use a yellow crayon to highlight focus letters or words. The fun part about poetry folders is that the kiddos can take them home, read the poems to their parents, and bring them back a few days later. If the folder gets lost or messed up, it’s no big deal!
And, the final format I love is printable readers. I love getting the poems into the kiddos’ hands this way, because it is in book format, and they each get their own!
This particular example is from a predictable text that I wrote. Again, you are MORE than welcome to use it in your own classroom! Just please don’t claim it as your own or share it without proper credit! Here’s how this one goes:
The printable readers are super fun because the kiddos get to color all the pictures and read the words independently. And, just like with the poetry folders, you can have them highlight letters and or words based on the time of year and the needs of the kiddos. I like to have each kiddo keep their readers in a book box of some sort, so they can get them out and read them easily when we have a few extra minutes here or there.
The best part is how easy they are to prepare!
1. Print the pages and stack them in order. Copy one set of originals for every two kiddos (20 kiddos=10 copies). HINT: If you’re making two-sided copies (which I recommend), put a blank piece of paper after the cover so that the pages copy correctly.
2. You should now have several sets of the original. Cut each set in half to make two books. HINT: Use a paper cutter to make it super fast! You’ll want to cut them at the 5.5″ mark.
3. Staple each book together. HINT: Use two staples in each book. One is NOT enough!
4. Let your kiddos color the pages and practice reading! HINT: This is most successful in small groups!
When you’re finished, all of your kiddos will have their very own book that they already know how to read!
If you want to make it easy on yourself and get these three poems ready to print in all three of these formats, you are in luck! I’ve got them all in my Teachers Pay Teachers Store! Just click on the product covers to go straight to them! Each poem is available separately with all three formats that I talked about in this post. And, just like every other individual file in my TPT store, they are only $1 each!
Or… if you want all three poetry sets, you can get them in a bundle and save some money!!
You might also want to check out my other back-to-school posts!
I’d love to see pictures of these back-to-school poems in action in YOUR classroom! If you have some pics I can use and share, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Stay tuned for my next post: 7 Back-to-School Busy Boxes You Can Make Today! Be one of the first to know when this post is published by following my blog! You can also follow me on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to get my updates right away!