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Maria Salvadore

Reading Rockets' children's literature expert, Maria Salvadore, brings you into her world as she explores the best ways to use kids' books both inside — and outside — of the classroom.

April is National Poetry Month

April 11, 2007

April is filled with lots of special days – including D.E.A.R. Day in honor of Beverly Cleary's birthday. It's also National Poetry Month. And poetry is great grist for reading, especially for regular Drop Everything And Read activities.

But the very mention of poetry – at least in my experience – can cause apoplexy in adults (notice I said adults; younger children respond especially warmly to poetry). I think that's because adults are insecure about identifying quality poetry and ways to share it with children.

And that's where Conversations with a Poet by Betsy Franco (Richard C. Owens Publishers) comes in! The subtitle says a lot: Inviting Poetry into K-12 Classrooms, by the respected poet who wrote this conversational, informative and thoughtful book. In an inviting way, it introduces ideas for using poetry with kids and provides solid lists of poetry collections. This is a must-read not only for teachers and librarians, but for parents who want to introduce their children to poetry beyond nursery rhymes.

So, let us hear from you if you've dropped everything to read a visual poem, an ode, a sonnet, maybe a sestina or even a multi-voice poem!


I'm so glad to hear that Conversations with a Poet is helping children, teachers, and parents. As a poet and former teacher, I know how hard it is to be an expert on every required subject. I'm thrilled to have the chance to pass on the tips,secrets, short cuts, samples, and insights ofreading and writing poetry. Poetry can be sucha thrilling subject once the door of understanding is opened. There are poets in your classroom waiting to be discovered. You'llbe amazed when you discover who they are. Maybeyou're one of them!

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"To learn to read is to light a fire; every syllable that is spelled out is a spark." — Victor Hugo, Les Miserables