Love that Dog: A touching book and useful pedagogical resource

In both my experience teaching pre-service literacy courses and my current research with student teachers I (Lydia) have witnessed the sense of anxiety and discomfort many student teachers voice when they are faced with the prospect of teaching poetry during their practice teaching placements. Often, their associate teachers are themselves not comfortable with poetry and therefore, they have difficulty scaffolding the teaching of poetry or providing supportive resources for student teachers. This awareness has motivated Clare and I to delve into poetry within the first few weeks of the P/J and J/I literacy courses, in an effort to ease some of the initial anxiety student teachers experience in anticipation of teaching poetry. We attempt to provide multiple entry points into the teaching of poetry by presenting student teachers with various forms of poetry, and by highlighting the creative expression and emotive potential offered by this medium. We also provide them with a number of resources and pedagogical strategies they can utilize during their practice teaching placement. I recently picked up a copy of the book Love that Dog by Sharon Creech, which I hope to use in the literacy methods courses this year because the insight provided into how students might feel about reading and writing poetry is useful for both teachers and students. Throughout the book, the main character a young boy named Jack journals back and forth with his teacher Ms. Stretchberry, cleverly expressing his initial resist and eventual connection to poetry. Jack initially pronounces, “I don’t want to because boys don’t write poetry. Girls do”; however, through his ongoing dialogue with his teacher Jack experiments with word choice, sounds, and rhythm as he is engages with various poetic formats. My favorite entry in the book is “November 22.” Hopefully the student teachers in the literacy courses this year will enjoy this touching book as much as I did.lovethatdog

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One thought on “Love that Dog: A touching book and useful pedagogical resource

  1. I think one of the big barriers is that people have very fixed mindsets about “poetic ability.” Rather than viewing it as something that can be learned and practiced, many see it as an innate talent. It sounds like an interesting book in those regards!

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