Summary and Questions – “I” poems: Invitations for students to deepen literary understanding

In this article Kucan discusses the use of “I” poems as a way for students to write in the first person as a person, place or object that is speaking directly to readers.  In writing these poems, the student takes on the role of narrator and is able to express thoughts and feelings from their point of view.  She states that students relate well to the strong, clear, direct and intimate nature of first-person narratives.  She further discusses current theories and research supporting writing in response to reading such as: 1) writing in response to reading effectively enhances the relationship between reader and text because it encourages students to revisit text and thus they begin to take on deeper understanding as a result of this continued engagement, 2) writing is a knowledge transformation process through which the act of writing causes thoughts to come into existence, 3) writing compels readers to join bits of information into relationships that help one better understand what was read, 4)  learning or understanding is dependent upon opportunity for self-reflective closure, and that writing poetry is a way to do this,  and 5) ideas are better remembered and understood when they are transformed from one form to another.  The article then discusses the specifics of two instructional sequences and implementation, including examples of “I” poems that were written by the students.  The overall response to their usage was positive by both teachers and students, and Kucan concluded that “”I” poems are compelling because they encourage students to pay attention, to take time to look and listen, to sift their experiences, to repeatedly revisit the information and to then choose their words carefully when they are ready to write.  This method fosters deeper understanding of material and a closer relationship between student and text, which is the ultimate goal in a reading classroom and in real life.


1) Can “I” poems be effectively used in content areas such as technology or math?

2) Are there assessment guidelines for grading since the poems are very subjective due to their creative nature?

3) For students that do not consider themselves creative or those who are intimidated by poetry, how can we make them comfortable with this process?

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