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Lesson Plan

Summarizing with Haikus

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Summarizing with Haikus

Grades 6 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Three 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Kathy Wickline

Kathy Wickline

Tolono, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



While haikus are typically used for nature poetry, the short format of haikus lends itself to summarizing opinions creatively. After completing a persuasive writing assignment students use the Haiku Poem App or the Haiku Poem Interactive to they practice the key skill of summarizing using the concise format of haiku poetry to recap their writing. 

Because students must make every word count, they must focus on concise word choice. Additionally, the non-rhyming characteristic of haikus lowers anxiety of students who feel they cannot write poetry.

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Haiku Starter: This printout will help students brainstorm before writing their haikus.

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Cheney points out that frequently students are “turned off” by poetry because English teachers have lead their classes in discussions that overanalyze the literary characteristics of poems. In particular, he believes instructors should focus on the haiku’s ability to capture a “moment, image, or feeling.” Furthermore, Sloan points out that students often feel “poetry is disconnected with reality” when it discusses nature themes traditionally found in haikus. However, by having his journalism students use haikus to editorialize news events, which he nicknamed “eduhus,” his student were more engaged by the emotional images.

Equally important, this lesson allows for students to practice their skills in summarizing. According to Dean, summarizing “links reading and writing and requires higher-level thinking.” McLaughlin and Allen also include this skill as important strategy to improve to reading comprehension. The more opportunities the students are given to practice their summarizing skills, the more successful they will be in reading and writing in other content areas as well.

Cheney, Matthew. "Expanding Vision: Teaching Haiku." English Journal 91.3 (January 2000): 79-83.

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Dean, Deborah. What Works in Writing Instruction: Research and Practices. Urbana, IL: NCTE, 2010.

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McLaughlin, M., & Allen, M. (2009). Teacher-Directed Whole-Group Instruction. In Guided Comprehension in Grades 3-8 (pp. 17-32). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.


Sloan, Mike C. “Haikus in the News.” Classroom Notes Plus (October 2002): 2-3.

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