A Sonia-Inspired Activity: Poetry Read-Alouds

What you need:

  • Poems that your child can read aloud, and that allow them to imagine a location or object. Alternatively, you can read the poems aloud.
  • Kindergarteners through second graders: Copy of the 5 Senses Poem worksheet
  • Third through fifth graders: Copy of the Analyzing a Poem worksheet
  • Optional books of poetry:
    • Sonia Sotomayor: Supreme Court Justice, by Carmen T. Bernier-Grand
    • Under the Mambo Moon, by Julia Durango
    • Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems, selected by Paul B. Janeczko
    • The Oxford Illustrated Book of American Children’s Poems, edited by Donald Hall
    • Cool Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Growing Up Latino in the United States, edited by Lori M. Carlson
    • My Village: Rhymes from Around the World, collected by Danielle Wright

What you do:

  1. Curate some poems that describe a place or objects. Allow your child to select which poem to read aloud.
  2. Have your child read aloud their chosen poem in front of family or friends, or just in front of you.
  3. Take turns reading poems so that your child can listen to poems as well.
  4. Ask your child to choose the poem they like the best.
  5. Have your learner describe the poem in their own words. Use either the 5 Senses Poem or Analyzing a Poem worksheet to help your child read and answer the questions, either in writing or by drawing pictures. Choose the best worksheet for your child based on their grade level.
  6. After they have finished the worksheet, review their answers and talk about the same poem again. Note if their understanding or impression of the poem changed at all.

Read the poems more than once to practice fluency and inflections. Challenge your young reader to record their recitations of the poems and share them with the rest of the family. You can even have your child share the recording during a family gathering, just like Sonia Sotomayor’s family tradition.

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