School Improvement in Maryland

Using the State Curriculum: Reading/ELA, Grade 8

Reading/ELA | Informational | Literary | Writing | Language | Listening | Speaking

Lesson Seeds: The lesson seeds are ideas for the indicator/objective that can be used to build a lesson. Lesson seeds are not meant to be all-inclusive, nor are they substitutes for instruction.

Standard 3.0 Comprehension of Literary Text

Indicator 4. Analyze and evaluate elements of poetry to facilitate understanding and interpretation

Objective c. Analyze sound elements of poetry that contribute to meaning


Prior to this activity the teacher should duplicate an age appropriate poem on the overhead or chalkboard. Using different shaped markers the teacher should show the rhyme scheme of the poem by placing a marker at the end of each line of poetry. Once the modeling is complete, students can be given another poem where they can show the rhyme scheme with different shaped markers or by drawing different shapes at the end of the poetry lines. After the rhyme scheme has been established, the poem should be read aloud. Then teacher and students should discuss whether the rhyming words have a pleasant or a harsh sound and if the sounds of the words match the mood the poem?


To introduce the importance of rhythm in a poem, begin by having students write their names divided in syllables on a piece of paper. Have the teacher model with his/her name writing it in syllables and then saying the name aloud. Then the teacher should say the name aloud while clapping out the rhythm. Next, the teacher will clap the rhythm of the name but not speak the name. Then students can take turns speaking and clapping the rhythm of their names. If wanted or necessary, the student can create a sentence beginning with his/her name and then clap the rhythm of the entire sentence. Once this procedure has been established, the teacher should introduce an age appropriate poem and read it aloud to students. Students can use the clapping procedure with the lines of poetry to establish the rhythm of the poem. To conclude, teacher and students should discuss the importance or purpose of rhythm in the poem.


Prior to this activity the teacher should list a series of pleasant and harsh sounding words. Also the teacher should find a series of age appropriate poems that contain examples of alliteration, assonance, or consonance. (Definitions of the previous sound elements can be found in the Clarification for Standard Three, Indicator Four.) Initially, the teacher should present each word to the class and have them categorize the words as pleasant or harsh sounding. In addition teacher and students should discuss what makes the words sound pleasant or harsh. Next, the teacher should present a selected poem to the class. After reading it aloud, teacher and students should locate any instances of alliteration, assonance, or consonance. Next teacher and students should discuss whether those sound features have pleasant or harsh sounds and whether those sounds fit the mood or tone of the poem. After modeling, students should try additional poems on their own.


Prior to this activity the teacher should select and copy several different poems that are rich in sound elements. The teacher should also select a poem with as few sound elements as possible. With teacher direction, the class will read a selected poem aloud, identify its sound elements, and record them on a chart.

Sound Element Example from Poem

Once the chart is complete, teacher and students will discuss the importance of the sound elements and their contribution to the meaning of the poem. An alternate focus for this activity is to identify the mood or tone of the poem first. Then students and teacher can find sound elements that help establish the mood or tone of the poem.


The teacher and students will read aloud three or more poems with distinct sound elements such as a nursery rhyme, a sonnet, and free verse. The teacher and students will locate any sound elements in each of the poems and then discuss how the difference in each of the poems is created by the difference in sound elements. Finally, teacher and students will establish the effect the sound elements have upon the meaning of each poem.