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Lesson Plan

Writing Acrostic Poems with Thematically Related Texts in the Content Areas

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Writing Acrostic Poems with Thematically Related Texts in the Content Areas

Grades 2 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 30-minute sessions
Lesson Author

David Brown

David Brown

Aurora, Missouri


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



In this lesson students will use thematically related texts, organized from least to most complex, to gather a word bank of supporting details and content vocabulary about a concept. †Then they use these words as a basis for writing acrostic poems, which support organization of information around a central idea, as the lines of an acrostic poem are held together by the topic or main idea spelled vertically.

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Sample Booklist of Thematically Related Texts: †Organized by level of text complexity, this list offers a model for the scaffolding process used in the lesson.

Sample Acrostic Poetry: †Use these mentor texts to show students different ways of approaching acrostic poetry.

Alphabet Organizer Student Interactive: †This tool facilitates the collection and organization of key vocabulary during the reading of multiple texts.

Acrostic Poetry Student Interactive: †Students can use this tool to compose and publish their own acrostics on about the content they learned through reading multiple texts.

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Background knowledge is a vital part of comprehension. †Teaching in the content areas usually requires a teacher to preview texts and determine vocabulary and background knowledge for direct instruction as students with limited vocabulary or background knowledge struggle to make connections. Doing so can lead to studentsí dependency upon the teacher for information rather than viewing reading itself as a source of information and learning. In contrast, thematically related texts can be used to help students gather necessary background knowledge and sharpen their reading skills in the process.

Neuman, Kaefer, & Pinkham (2014) found differences in comprehension between successful and struggling readers can be attributed to a lack of background knowledge. †Engaging literacy instruction, crafted in sequences of thematically related texts, can promote the attainment of literacy goals and develop readerís content knowledge, vocabulary, and self-efficacy for reading (Gelzheiser, Hallgren-Flynn, Connors, & Scanlon, 2014).

Gelzheiser, L., Hallgren-Flynn, L., Connors, M., & Scanlon, D. (2014) Reading thematically related texts to develop knowledge and comprehension. The Reading Teacher, 68(1), 53-63.


Neuman, S., Kaefer, T., & Pinkham, A. (2014) Building background knowledge. The Reading Teacher, 68(2), 145-148.

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