Poetry Journals/Notebooks to Teach a Wide Range of Skills

I am very excited to share with all of you how I incorporate poetry notebooks into my instruction. Yesterday, I posted about math journals and using them in my math instruction. Soooooo, I thought I would share with all of you how I use these notebooks in my class.

At the beginning of the school year I use these notebooks to teach letters and sounds. My goal is for my students to master all of their letters and sounds by October. I use alphabet letter poems along with a set of letter sound cards I acquired from a former Kindergarten teacher to accomplish this goal.

Each day we review our letter/sound cards pictured below. I absolutely LOVE these cards and swear by them. They are old, but let me tell you they are fantastic for teaching letters and sounds. They are from the Scott Foresman reading series. Our school purchased the Alpha Motions cards and a few of my co-workers use them and have had  much success with those as well.

(Scott Foresman Cards: Students learn phrases to go along with cards; Cracking nut, cracking nut K-, K, K!
Beating heart, beating heart B-, B-, B! Ticking clock, ticking clock T-, T-, T! Fighting cat, fighting cat F-, F-F, F!)

After reviewing these cards, I introduce a letter poem. I try to introduce one letter a day; however, we usually end up spending a day or two extra on the vowels. As a mentioned in my previous post on math journals, I am all about consistency, so students learn to go to their next available page in their poetry notebook (no skipping pages in my class!), date the top left-hand side of the page and then glue their poem below.

We then read the poem together, go over the letter, the sound it makes, etc. We go back through the poem and look for puntuation marks and any sight words we have learned up to that point. We highlight sight words in one color and punctuation marks in another. I love this because students are mastering their letters and sounds and also learning/reviewing sight words and punctuation.

After this, we discuss the details in the poem and what the poem is about. With the letter poems we will underline a main word or idea to label in our drawing, thus incorporating labeling and main idea into our learning. We brainstorm ideas of what details we can use in our illustrations and also what MUST go into our drawings according to what the poem was about. 

At the beginning stages of using this notebook I will show them my illustration of the poem and discuss all of the details I have included; sky, sun, birds, trees, grass, etc. Students are then free to illustrate their poem on the right-hand side of their notebooks. Before they finish they must label their drawing with the word we chose and underlined in our poem. 

As the year progresses, we do about one poem a week and do so many skills with that one poem. The poem is usually theme based on what we are learning about that week. I LOVE Google and find most of my theme based poems there. Sometimes these poems are assigned as center work. I may have students read the poem with a buddy and then go through it with their buddy and highlight sight words and punctuation marks or we may do this together. Other days, we just read the poem and discuss the meaning and the re-read and illustrate on another day. There are so many ways you can use this type of notebook in your class. The options are just endless!

Students store these poetry notebooks in their book box, so they can read through them during silent reading and buddy reading. The following are pictures of the poetry notebooks my students have completed in the past. You can get a good idea of how to set these up and tweak them to your liking. Check out the details in their drawings (These are all from different students)!!!

A co-worker and I recently came up with 26 letter alphabet poems we will be using this upcoming school year. We wanted to incorporate more color words and rhyming words into our letter poems to help students master these types of words as well.

Check them out by clicking on any of the following pictures.

I hope you enjoyed this post as much as I did! :)

I just LOVE all of the learning that takes place with just one notebook!


  1. I love your poetry notebooks! I need to get back to doing them next year. It was so hard for me to squeeze everything in. You did a great job on the alphabet poetry pack!
    Learning Is Something to Treasure
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  2. Wow! I'm loving these poems! Thank you!!! I can't wait to check out your Math Journal post...
    Ms. Solano's Kindergarten
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  3. You have some really great ideas! Thank you for sharing them!

  4. Thanks for all of your wonderful comments! :)

  5. Wow!!! This is really great . Thank you so much for sharing such a wonderful idea. I'm on my way to the store to purchase some composition books and get them set up for this coming school year!
    Thanks again!

  6. Fabulous Poetry Journals! Thank you for sharing. I have always wanted to do something like this. You are my inspiration to try it this year.

  7. Your poetry journals are precious! Thank you so much for sharing them. =)

    Heather's Heart

  8. I use poetry journals in my class too and I just LOVE them. Your kids drew such great illustrations!


  9. I love the idea of poetry journals! Is there a place where I can find the letter poems? Thank you!

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