But, as it is poetry month, I have been reading about teaching poetry. One book keeps getting suggested, again and again: Love That Dog by Sharon Creech.
I can see why this book has been recommended for teaching poetry! It is a poetic book about a boy learning to write poetry. Written in short, poetic lines, Jack writes in his school journal from the beginning of the year until the end. We see his progression from a boy who thinks poetry is for girls to a boy excited to meet a famous young adult poet (Walter Dean Meyers) when he comes to visit. Through it all, we get to understand a little bit what poetry can mean to us, especially in terms of emotions and memories.
I loved how Creech included Jack’s responses to the poetry that he is exposed to in class, and it was doubly great that the poems were reprinted in the back of the book. I remember feeling the same way when we read The Red Wheelbarrow in class (and had to write our own version). I remember loving the shape poems that we encountered. How fun! And while I cannot relate to the favorite pet aspect of the book, the ways that Jack reads and then writes poetry in the book incorporate sensitive emotions reminded me of the reasons I love poetry.
In short, I’d agree that Love That Dog would be a great book for teachers to use in introducing and teaching poetry. The entire book is a free verse poem, so it would simply reinforce the things Jack learns and that a teacher wishes to teach.
Keep in mind, however, that the book should not be read by kids overly sensitive: maybe fourth grade and up would be best.
What books do you read your kids to introduce or teach poetry?