Making Poetry Accessible with News‑2‑You

Molly Boes

Senior Content Specialist

At first glance, poetry can sometimes be daunting for readers of all levels. The concepts of stanza, form, rhyme, rhythm and meter may be a lesser explored topic in the classroom when compared to the concepts of reading comprehension and phonetic awareness. However, poetry can be enjoyed, and better yet, understood, when it is paired with an enthusiastic attitude and the right instruction.

To honor poetry as a form of creative writing, n2y has created a special, extended edition of our weekly News‑2‑You® newspaper in collaboration with the Academy of American Poets. This collaboration brings accessible poetry to students in the special education classroom. The poem featured, Clouds, uses the imagery of sheep on a hill to describe the movement of clouds.

Poetry Helps with Expression

Exposure to poetry can help children and individuals of all ages and abilities express themselves and explore the world around them. Poems help people express feelings, like joy or sadness, and can help with forming descriptions.

Download a sample of News-2-You to share engaging content, informational text and new learning activities with your students.

Four Reading Levels

The poem featured in the special newspaper has the same levels as other News-2-You newspapers, which are the Simplified, Regular, Higher and Advanced versions. The Simplified, Regular and Higher editions use symbol-supported words and sentences to provide multiple levels of differentiated instruction. The Advanced version has a single, real-life photo on each page and longer sentences without the symbol-supported text. Like our usual weekly newspapers, the poetry spotlight has Review and Think Pages with questions that support discussion and participation.

Literal and Figurative Versions

In this special edition of News‑2‑You, the Simplified, Regular and Higher newspapers each have two versions of the poem: a literal version and a figurative version. The literal version symbolizes the words as they are. This version can help with word recognition and vocabulary. The figurative version symbolizes the words with their metaphorical meaning.

In the poem Clouds, the sheep represent clouds, so the word “sheep” is symbol-supported by a sheep-shaped cloud. This version can help with understanding the concept of symbolism. We encourage you to use both versions of the poem to help your students have a rich and deep poetry reading experience. The Advanced version features a page with additional ideas for teachers to expand the poetry experience for their students.

Join us in making poetry accessible to your students by reading and discussing both the literal and figurative versions of Clouds. To dive deeper into poetry, gather additional poems and use the Board Wizard in SymbolStix PRIME® to create your own symbol-supported versions. Or, have your students express themselves by writing their own poems or sharing a poem they enjoy. Share your students’ poetry creations with us on social media using the hashtag #n2yproud and don’t forget to tag us @n2yinc.

About the Author

Molly Boes is an award-winning writer who is passionate about bringing current events to the classroom. She is a senior content specialist for News-2-You and has worked at n2y for over five years. Molly earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Xavier University. She received the Ohio Society of Professional Journalists Award for Best College News Writing.