Each year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, a time to celebrate poets and their craft. NCTE fosters excellence in children’s poetry by encouraging its publication and by promoting ways to acquaint teachers and children with poetry. For instance, NCTE established its Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children in 1977 to honor a living American poet for his or her aggregate work for children ages 3–13. Another Jar of Tiny Stars collects poems by winners of this award.
The ReadWriteThink.org podcast series, Text Messages, celebrates National Poetry Month by recommending a variety of poetry books for teens. Featured titles include themed collections of poetry compiled for teens as well as collections of poetry written by teens. Also mentioned is the novel written in verse.
Students examine a letter of the alphabet from all angles, creating image pools of original metaphors that they then turn into poems in the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “The ABCs of Poetry“. This lesson is written by John S. O’Connor, author of Wordplaygrounds: Reading, Writing, and Performing Poetry in the English Classroom and This Time It’s Personal: Teaching Academic Writing through Creative Nonfiction.
In Getting the Knack, authors Stephen Dunning and William Stafford offer 20 exercises covering different types or phases of poetry writing. The authors’ humor and nonacademic style will appeal to experienced and novice poets of all ages. Read the chapter on “Found & Headline Poems.” See similar lesson plans from ReadWriteThink.org.
Check out NCTE’s Poetry Tournament idea: create a basketball tournament-pairing chart using poetry and determine a final winner by reading the poems. Locate 64 poems and pair them off, just like basketball teams. Read two poems each day and let the students vote on the “winner.” Keep going until you have a final four and the final winner!
For more poetry resources, visit the NCTE Online Store and the ReadWriteThink.org calendar entry on National Poetry Month.
How are you celebrating National Poetry Month with your students?