When we studied homonyms, I found a delightful book, Your Aunt is a Witch, which presents homonym pairs in easy to remember rhymes. The cover alone catches the eye of the reluctant reader. I converted the rhymes into a painless but practical worksheet series for the students to illustrate. Here is one of the rhymes converted into worksheet style:
Little Prince Randolph is ( heir air ) to the throne,
And some day he will be king.
He simply adores to fly through the ( heir air )
On his solid gold, diamond-trimmed swing!
After the children pick the correct word, there is space to illustrate the rhyme.
When we discussed literal vs figurative language, I found The King Who Reigned a humorous combination of figurative images illustrated by literal drawings which also dealt with confusing homonyms. The children enjoyed making their own funny illustrations of “She’s all ears,” and “Someone’s on the phone,” and others they thought up themselves.
Poetry was a daily occurrence in my classroom, and as far as I was able, I “sneaked it in” to whatever we were studying at the time. We did not scan, analyze, or dissect the poems, but we did talk about what made them work and how they made us feel.
Poetry can be “worked in” and become a part of the classroom life and activities; it just takes a little ingenuity and a desire to get students thinking along poetry lines.