Poems for Two Voices

Posted by on Apr 1, 2021 in conversation as learning tool, poetry, Uncategorized | 0 comments

One of the most popular poetry centers in my classroom was poems for two voices.

The You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You series by Mary Ann Hoberman got us started. Here is an example,( Amazon.com: Very Short Mother Goose Tales to Read Together (You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You) (9780316207157): Hoberman, Mary Ann, Emberley, Michael: Books ) The kids really enjoyed the chance to partner up and emote! These books were even popular after school when I had bus students in my room waiting for their bus to be called.

Several poetry books are available. When we worked on poetry, this one Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices: Fleischman, Paul, Beddows, Eric: 9780064460934: Amazon.com: Books was a big hit. Many others are available.

I really love poetry for two voices! The kids do too! It was a definite win-win in our classroom. It is by nature an interactive activity. Students practice oral reading with pleasure. The short format gives them the ability to feel accomplished quickly. They become fluent easily, then they can work on expression. Very often pairs wanted to share their poem aloud with the class. I would have pairs read for me in small group, or I would read with a partner, as a warm up or a concluding activity.

I have found writing my own poems for two voices especially fulfilling. It is fun to think of the back and forth and the change of voice required to bring out expression. Simple words can tell a story through voice and cadence. Students will love any that you write or share. The poem above uses only eight different words, but it tells of delight, confusion, disagreement, and, finally, delight.

Have students try out writing poems for two voices. This is something I never thought to do when I was teaching. I wish I had! I am sure that they would have astonished me with their creativity. It would be almost like writing a conversation between friends. Maybe have partners work together on a poem, responding to each other’s thoughts. Oh, what a help this might be for a struggling writer who can’t find something to write.

I hope you enjoyed my poem and that you can use it in your classroom. More poetry ideas are coming this month. I hope you will find some benefit to them.


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