Reading A Poem: 20 Strategies (Short Assignment Series)

Short Writing

Brown Girl Dreaming

  • Duration:
  • Intended for: Whole Class
  • Formality: Graded
  • Completes in: 6 steps
  • Comments: 0
  • Materials: 3
Published 10 recipes

Melody has been teaching developmental writing at St. Louis Community College-Forest Park since 2011, having previously taught composition and developmental writing at Southwestern Illinois College,…

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Assignment Overview

Reading a Poem: 20 Strategies

This article from The Atlantic inspired a host of short writing assignments in a class focused on Brown Girl Dreaming. I wanted to offer them all together here. (See Brown Girl Dreaming sample syllabus here.)

The full title of the article is “Reading a Poem: 20 Strategies, A Guide for the Perplexed.” The author wants to dispel poetry myths, advise that complexity and confusion are desirable effects of reading poetry, and ultimately give encouragement. Reading poetry, he argues, is not about getting the right answer. His strategies are meant to tell the reader that poetry takes effort and an open mind, and that its rewards are often the most unexpected kind.

Each short assignment can be found in the STEPS, and can be given in any order.



Required Materials
  • Article from The Atlantic
  • Youtube videos
  • Dictionary/Thesaurus
Skills developed
  • Analysis
  • Reflection
  • Freewriting
  • Group work
  • Comparison/Contrast
6 Steps to complete

1. Strategy 13

2. Strategy 6

3. Strategy 1

4. Strategy 9

5. Strategy 2

6. Strategy 3

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