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April is National Poetry Month!

  • Reading For Fun
  • Elementary
  • Middle School

Every April,

the literary world celebrates National Poetry month, presented by the Academy of American poets. To me, this is an exciting opportunity to share with students a genre in which most children have almost no exposure to in 2016: poetry. In an educational world filled with rich text elements and nonfiction (which I fully support), sometimes students lose out on the importance of meter, rhyme, and feelings expressed through verse. Let’s be honest, how many nonfiction 818 (poetry) books have circulated in your library lately?

There are a few fun ways to get your library classes excited about National Poetry Month. Excited? Yes, excited. Whenever I introduce a topic that seems like it will generate a lot of eye-rolling, I immediately make it as hands on as possible. A subject like poetry is no different and here is what you can do:

  1. Reading vs. listening to a poem. My favorite is Louder than a Clap of Thunder by Jack Prelutsky. Here’s what you’ll do: read the poem aloud to students-I prefer grades 2-4 for this. Talk about what students picture most clearly-there is a lot of imagery in this poem. Then, play one of the sound links on this page: http://teacher.scholastic.com/...

Your students will laugh pretty hard. They’ll definitely beg to listen to it more than  once. Compare and contrast differences between when you read it and when Prelutsky did.

  1. Act out a poem: this can be done with just about any poem in your library or one where there is some action or strong feelings. Students will enjoy watching their peers and so will you. If you like a quiet library, this one might not be for you!

  1. This one is a variation from FamilyFriendPoems.com, fill a jar with words on pieces of paper, nouns, verbs, descriptive adjectives and adverbs. Break students into groups of 3-5 and have them pick out 5 words. Ask them to write a poem using the words they chose. This would work best for grades 4-7

  1. Poet word cloud: use a tag cloud generator (I like wordle.net) and have students split into groups of 2, they must have access to a tablet, computer, or laptop to use to do this exercise. Randomly pass out names of famous poets throughout history and have students research facts about them. Then, they will use a tag cloud maker to “tag” the most notable words describing who the poet is or what they did. Best for grades 7-8.

Well, this is where the sidewalk ends for this blog (see what I did there?), feel free to share any fun activities you plan for your students to celebrate poetry.

Here's some more info on National Poetry Month, featuring 30 ways to celebrate: Poets.org