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Technology and Teaching Poetry

Poetry is a difficult subject to entice students to immerse themselves in. Poetry is often neglected throughout elementary and high school, as well as in teacher-education courses entirely. Digital poetry can be taught in so many unique ways that cannot be done with an old poetry textbook. Allowing students to find and create poems that resonate with them encourages students to discover the diversity of poetry. The accessibility for digital poetry is at an all-time high, as is every form of digital media. Most schools in America issue their students electronic devices. At this rate, digital poetry is significantly more accessible than paper format.

Audiobook Poetry for Children

Poetry and audiobooks are two terrific resources for children learning to read. Poetry is a literary form that emphasizes language structures in unique ways to connect lines inside a poem. Poetry frequently rhymes, which is an excellent approach to improving phonemic awareness. Phonemic awareness is the capacity to perceive and control sounds in language through writing. Children learn to break words down into phonemes through rhyming, which strengthens their decoding and comprehension skills. Poetry introduces children to new words, enhancing their vocabulary. Reading longer materials might be challenging for a new reader. On the other hand, poetry presents concise texts that are rich in significance. Additionally, poetry’s frequent use of metaphors enables more nuanced readings of the material. Children learn to become more self-assured, independent thinkers because poetry allows for personal interpretation. 

The benefits of audiobooks for new readers are very similar to that of poetry. Students can hear the precise letter sounds and word-forming letter patterns through audiobooks. In addition to increasing vocabulary, understanding, and critical thinking abilities, audiobooks encourage student interaction with the material and expose them to a wider variety of terms. Students who listen to audiobooks are exposed to academic jargon and book language. Their previous knowledge, a crucial element for a developing student, is built through exposure. Audiobooks also promote the growth of higher-order thinking abilities. Combining these two resources for new readers could make a significant difference in children’s reading skills and their appreciation for poetry as they get older.

Digital Poetry vs. Poetry Textbooks

Students are only exposed to a narrow variety of poetry styles, subjects, and writers since teachers rely on overly well-known poems and ways of studying them. Handing a student a poetry textbook comprised entirely of the same authors and the same kinds of poetry is dull and uninspiring. Poetry textbooks have been done to death and can be listed as a contributing factor to students’ distaste for the writing medium.

A study called “The Transpoemation Project” chose a group of ninth graders to explore digital poetry with. They gave these students a project where they wrote their own poem, took it from pages to devices, and then transformed their poem into a movie. The students’ knowledge that they were going to make a short film of their poem allowed them to be more creative with their uses of themes and language. Translating a poem from the page to the screen highlighted the importance of analyzing their work. The same poem was read by various students in different ways, and the aesthetic decisions creators made when utilizing technology to animate the poem encouraged the other students to experience the ‘filmmaker’s’ interpretation of the text.

 Poetry inspires us to consider how to use the various multimedia tools at our disposal to increase students’ comprehension and appreciation. Students must use creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving skills, and interact with a poem multiple times to translate verse from the page to the screen. It would have been impossible for the students in this study to complete this project without extensively re-reading their poems. This repetitive reading exercise improved understanding and aided interpretation.

Poetry Appreciation

Poetry is becoming near extinct in education as a whole. Even when poetry is taught, most teachers do not feel confident in teaching it. They resort to picking apart similar themes and never exposing students to anything new. Implementing technology into teaching poetry could be very influential. Translating a poem from the page to the screen and then taking it further and animating the poetry brings it to life. Projects similar to “The Transpoemation Project” have the potential to make learning poetry more enjoyable and influential. The ninth graders who participated in that study are sure to, at the very least, remember how fun their experience was. The potential of audiobook poetry to introduce children to it at a young age could create a lifelong appreciation for poetry. A new age of technology has ushered in new ways of teaching nearly everything. So why should poetry be an exception?