Learning to eat poems during poetry workshop: a study of student perceptions

The purpose of this study was to see the affects on student perceptions of and ability to write and read poetry by having a weekly "Poetry Workshop" with the students in my second/third grade multiage classroom. One day every week students were given the opportunity to devote themselves to reading, writing, and learning about poetry. They were exposed to different poets, invited to participate in discussions about poems, given opportunities to read and enjoy poetry together, and given opportunities to practice writing original poetry. Students were given a poetry survey prior to, midway through, and at the conclusion of the nine month study which was used as a measurement for student perceptions of poetry. They also kept "Poetry Anthologies", which were collections of student work. This study took place in a lower to middle class elementary school with over six hundred students in attendance. The test sampling, gathered from one second/third grade multiage classroom, included two high, two middle, and two low students in writing. All students showed increased motivation to read and write poetry at the conclusion of the study. Their perceptions of what is involved in reading and writing poetry changed over time in a positive way. It was concluded from this study that giving students a regular, set time devoted to poetry can improve student ability to read and write poetry independently.