While we probably all agree that poetry should be celebrated and enjoyed all year, April is known as National Poetry Month. The Academy of American Poets founded this month in April 1996. Let’s take a look at the aims of National Poetry Month, along with resources from NCTE.
To highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets:
NCTE established the 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. NCTE also recognizes and fosters excellence in children’s poetry by encouraging its publication and by exploring ways to acquaint teachers and children with poetry through such means as publications, programs, and displays.
To encourage the reading of poems:
NCTE has an award committee that puts out a list of Notable Poetry Books every year. View the 2018 list of Notable Poetry Books here. In addition there is also a separate list of notable Verse Novels.
To assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms:
These classroom-tested lesson plans from ReadWriteThink provide ready resources for teachers working with students from kindergarten to high school. ReadWriteThink also has a suite of poetry tools and apps that can be used with students and children.
To increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media:
NCTE often includes poets as part of the program at the NCTE Annual Convention. In 2017, both Jimmy Santiago Baca and Jacqueline Woodson were featured speakers. In addition, Richard Blanco was part of #NCTEchat in March 2018.
To encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books:
NCTE has published a number of books on the teaching of poetry, living poets, and poets in the canon, in addition to two poetry collections. In almost every issue of our journals, poetry is shared — both reprints and originals.
To encourage support for poets and poetry:
NCTE supports all texts and writers!
How will you celebrate National Poetry Month?