Poem of the Month

Destination Mars

Poetry is an effective way to engage reluctant readers and build reading fluency by providing short, repeated shared reading experiences that develop essential literacy skills in a low-stress context. The poems in JillE Literacy help all students experience reading success and build their identities as readers.

The built-in five-day lesson plan on the back of every JillE Literacy poem makes it easy to read and reread the poem over the course of a week, focusing on a different literacy opportunity each day. All the planning is done for you, so you can spend less time planning and more time teaching.

Here are some sample questions and prompts from each day’s built-in teaching notes:



  • Ask students: What words or phrases in this poem tell you that this is a nonsense poem? Why?
  • What line or lines in this poem did you like the best? What made you like them?
  • If Martians did exist, what questions could you ask them?


  • After rereading the poem, discuss the words stratosphere, atmosphere, navigate, meteorites.
  • Discuss what the word whip means as it is used in this poem. Talk about how else the word whip can be used to mean something different.
  • Ask students: Which words in this poem are strong verbs? Which words are interesting adjectives?

Reading with Fluency

  • Discuss the punctuation in the poem and how these provide clues to how the poem should be read.
  • Read the poem out loud together, focusing on the punctuation clues to read with pace and expression.

Reinforcing Phonics and Spelling

  • Write the word knobbly on the board. Underline the spelling pattern for the /n/ sound. Ask: What other words have this spelling pattern? What other spelling patterns are there for the /n/ sound? (n, nn, gn)
  • Clap and count the syllables in navigate, stratosphere, atmosphere, meteorites.
  • Discuss the possessive apostrophe in Earth’s atmosphere and what it means.


  • Ask students to think of ways to perform the poem using voice, movement, and/or sound.
  • Encourage students to illustrate a line in the poem that is not depicted in the illustration (e.g., navigate the stratosphere, mob of Martians, scan me with their googly eyes, whip around the meteorites).

Destination Mars” is part of the Grade 3 Whole-Class Resources kit but can be enjoyed by children and teachers of all ages!

Related Resources

Last Month's Poem

Check back next month for a brand-new JillE Literacy poem to share with your students!

Related content:

Hey, there!

Like what you see?

Discover what JillE Literacy can bring to your classroom.