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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A stepping stone of language: Teaching poetry in the fourth grade classroom
by Friedman, Jessica, M.A., University of California, Davis, 2012, 76; 1512390
Abstract (Summary)

This thesis explores how poetry can change children's view of themselves are readers and writers, as well as enhance students' literacy development in a fourth grade classroom. This project argues that despite pressure from the No Child Left Behind Act, poetry can be a central theme of an elementary teacher's best practices in creating multiple opportunities for literacy. Based upon the work of teacher and poet, Kenneth Koch, and others, I show that in a non-judgmental and comfortable environment, poetry can inspire children to become better reader and writers. By teaching poetry, the elementary classroom teacher can help children write about feelings and emotions, while at the same time accessing new vocabulary. And, as a result of exposure to many different poems, children who had not previously written poetry are able to do so.

I believe that when fourth grade students are exposed to a variety of poems, they will gain confidence as poetry readers and writers, will be able to access new vocabulary which they discover in poems, and will develop literacy from a practice of arts instruction underutilized in elementary classrooms. This poetry movement can begin in any classroom, given there is a teacher who is willing to take the time to choose strong poems, talk about the poems with the students, elicit students' responses, and give time for writing and revision.

In this study, students in a Title One, low achieving school, responded to opportunities to express thoughts and ideas after reading and writing poetry, without the constraints of a multiple choice test as the final determination of their success. With local district and school adherence to No Child Left Behind and federal expectations of school achievement, there is often little time or encouragement for teachers to offer poetry, but the because of the rich language poetry offers and the opportunity for learning new vocabulary as well as self-expression, a curriculum which includes poetry can an important role in any public school language arts program.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Faltis, Christian
Commitee: Cannon, Shannon, Kato, Anna
School: University of California, Davis
Department: Education
School Location: United States -- California
Source: MAI 50/06M, Masters Abstracts International
Subjects: Art education, Elementary education
Keywords: Kenneth koch, No child left behind, Poetry
Publication Number: 1512390
ISBN: 978-1-267-39846-8
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