2016 National Poetry Month

Small-Blue-RGB-National-Poetry-Month-LogoEach year the month of April is set aside as National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world! It’s a time when millions of readers mark poetry’s important place in our culture and our lives. NCTE is proud to be a supporter of National Poetry Month.

There are six main aims for National Poetry Month. Here they are, along with associated NCTE and ReadWriteThink.org resources.

  1. Highlight the extraordinary legacy and ongoing achievement of American poets.
    Middle school students can explore how our senses provide powerful tools for literary analysis and comprehension with the ReadWriteThink.org lesson “Color of Silence: Sensory Imagery in Pat Mora’s Poem ‘Echoes’“. The lesson is an extension of activities included in the NCTE book Living Voices: Multicultural Poetry in the Middle School Classroom.
  2. Encourage the reading of poems.
    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.
  3. Assist teachers in bringing poetry into their classrooms.
    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.
  4. Increase the attention paid to poetry by national and local media.
    360 Degrees of Text: Using Poetry to Teach Close Reading and Powerful Writing describes an approach to teaching critical literacy that has students investigate texts through a full spectrum of learning modalities, harnessing the excitement of performance, imitation, creative writing, and argument/debate activities to become more powerful thinkers, readers, and writers. View the sample chapter online to read more about poetry as a means into academic writing. Learn more with these ReadWriteThink.org poetry lesson plans from the author.
  5. Encourage increased publication and distribution of poetry books.
    NCTE Notable Poetry Books list 16 outstanding poetry collections to offer children and teens—not just this month, but throughout the year and across the curriculum. Use these books, and create connections with books from previous Notable Lists (2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011) to create even more poetry joy!
  6. Encourage support for poets and poetry.
    View videos and learn about the winners of the NCTE Poetry Award through the NCTE Poets Spotlight Series.

Looking for more fun to celebrate poetry? 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!

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About Lisa Fink

Lisa Storm Fink is the Project Manager for ReadWriteThink at NCTE. After teaching grades K-4 for almost 9 years, she brought her varied experiences (multi-age classrooms, looping, cooperating teacher for preservice teachers, plus a specialization in Remedial Reading) fulltime to the ReadWriteThink site. Lisa feels lucky to have worked on all parts of the ReadWriteThink site as a writer and reviewer, curriculum developer, and now as Project Manager. She enjoys sharing the site with others during professional development opportunities as well as with her preservice students at the University of Illinois.

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