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A fun and comprehensive way of teaching poetry to students is through the “music” that Tolkien provides in The Hobbit. Students can learn poetic terms and devices including: denotation and connotation, imagery, figurative language (metaphor, simile, personification, synecdoche), symbol, and the sound of poetry (repetition, rhyme, onomatopoeia, euphonious and cacophonous words), and pattern. Definitions and examples of all of the terms and devices are given for the teacher. A handout for students with a teacher answer key also teaches students how to explicate a poem. This format can be used for any or all poems after students have completed this first activity. All thirteen poems from The Hobbit are in printable format with a teacher’s guide that identifies the rhyme scheme and alliteration as well as other useful poetic devices. Students have these same poems in a handout that they can use to identify for themselves the poetic devices used. Some or all of the poems can be used for teaching poetry. The explication activity can be used on one or all poems as well and easily leads the students to writing a comparative paper between the elves and the dwarves based on the values that we see in their poetry.
The unit begins with an introduction for the teacher with directions and answers on 14 pages. The student handout is also included which is 14 pages of all the “songs” in the book. There are three pages that define and illustrate terms and poetic devices. The student explication is for the Dwarf Song in Chapter 1 is four pages. A teacher guide for this is included and is 8 pages.