Shortcut: Reading Poetry

Poems are different from stories. Poems can help us experience strong feels or think about issues in our lives. Poems try to say as much as possible in as few words as possible. They can sometimes be difficult to understand.

Here are some steps to help you read and understand a poem:

  1. Before reading: Look at the title and think about what it might be about. Complete the sentence:
    - This poem might be about…
  2. First reading: Read through the poem once to get a general idea. It can be a good idea to read the poem out loud. What was your first reaction? Try to complete the sentence:
    - This poem seems to be about…
  3. Close reading: Close read the poem. Stop after each section to think about what it says. Look up words you don’t know in the dictionary. For each section try to complete the sentence:
    - What I see happening or pictured here is…
  4. Final reflection: Look at the title again. Try to see how it fits the rest of the poem. Try to complete some of these sentences:
    - The poem makes me feel/ think/ reminds me of…
    - The theme of the poem could be…
    - My favourite part of the poem is…
    - I like/don’t like this poem because…