Poetry Reading Strategies for Students

Kids love reading poetry! I love using weekly poems in my classroom, especially with upper elementary students. Poetry is filled with different styles of figurative language and the ways that authors write. I find that sometimes children read poetry quickly and do not always comprehend what they read. Help children in the classroom by using the poetry reading strategies for students that are found below.  These strategies do take time for students to learn but overtime can be very effective.

Poetry reading strategies for students anchor chart
Poetry Reading Strategies for Students

The saying Read Poetry with PRIDE is the acronym that I use to help students to remember each of the strategies. I have provided a better explanation for each of the steps to help kids with reading poetry.


The student should preview the title of the poem that will help to identify the main idea.  While previewing the poem, ask students to notice the shape of the poem, and try to identify the style of the poem.  Help kids to see if they notice a rhyming pattern, repeated lines, or something that makes the poem stand out by previewing a poem.


Concrete poetry for November










Narrative Poem for December










Acrostic poem for February










There is always something extra that a reader can pick up when reading a poem a second and third time. Show students that they should pause at the end of a stanza and think about what that stanza is about. This is a time to notice the unique features of a poem. Have students put a thin line after each stanza of a poem to symbolize pausing to think about what they have read. This can be seen below in the February Poetry Activities.

Poetry reading strategies for students example


Poetry is all about visualization and imagery. When students are taught to stop and think after each stanza this can strengthen the imagery skill. On the line that is at the end of the stanza,  have the student write a few words of what they envision. This strategy can also be seen in the February Poetry Activities poem below.

Poetry reading strategies for students examplesDEFINE

Since poems have a different writing style than regular text this is a good time to point out how to use context clues in the genre. I ask students to think about any words that they may not know and use the text to define. If the student still does not know the words they might need to use a dictionary to help to define them.


After these steps, have students evaluate what they read. What is the main message or theme of the poem? Using poetry reading strategies with your students is an easy way to help your kids with comprehension. The poetry reading strategy PRIDE is what I love to use in my classroom. These poetry reading strategies work great with your students when paired with the monthly poetry unit too.

Monthly Poetry Unit