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National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, 30 days of celebrating the joy, expressiveness, and pure delight of poetry. Learn more about the National Poetry Month, get to know some of our most well-loved children’s poets in our video interview series, browse the many online resources listed here, and visit your local library or bookstore to discover wonderful new books and anthologies.

On this page:

Learning through poetry

  • Poetry for Children (opens in a new window)    
    A blog about finding and sharing poetry with young people, from Sylvia Vardell — professor and author of Poetry Aloud Here and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Celebrations. New! Watch our video interview with Sylvia Vardell.
  • Let’s talk about poetry with Lee Bennett Hopkins    
    Meet Lee Bennett Hopkins, a prolific poet and anthologist of poetry for children, in this interview with our children’s literature expert, Maria Salvadore.
  • The P Word    
    A personal journey in discovering how to connect with poetry, from children’s literature expert and blogger Rachael Walker
  • Literature-based teaching in science: poetry walks    
    Read and discuss poetry with nature imagery with students. Take students on a poetry walk around the school, neighborhood, or community to observe and collect sensory images from direct experience with nature: the sights, sounds, smells, and textures of things outdoors. Students can take a poetry journal with them to write down words as they observe, listen, smell, and touch things outside the classroom.
  • 10 ways to use poetry in your classroom    
    From activating prior knowledge to exploring language to capturing character, discover ten ways to integrate poetry into your language, reading, and writing lessons.
  • Janet Wong’s poetry suitcase (opens in a new window)    
    Children’s author Janet Wong tells you how to pack a poetry suitcase — and get more poetry into your classrooms.
  • Writing poetry: sijo, cinquain, haiku, and rhymes    
    Valentine’s Day — or National Poetry Month — is a great time to practice poetry writing skills and experiment with a new form. There are lots of different kinds of poetry forms, including rhyming poems, limericks, free verse, cinquain, haiku, and sijo.
  • Using poetry to teach reading    
    Children are naturally drawn to humor, rhyme, and rhythm, and these are all found in poetry. Find out how to use poetry to motivate kids to read and as a tool to build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.
  • Nursery Rhymes: Not Just for Babies!    
    There’s a reason we learn nursery rhymes as young children. They help us develop an ear for our language. Rhyme and rhythm highlight the sounds and syllables in words. And understanding sounds and syllables helps kids learn to read!
  • Poems at Home    
    Sharing poetry with kids is a great way to highlight language. Poems offer humor, interesting words, tongue twisters, alliteration, and opportunities for choral reading (reading together). Find out how to plan a lively and fun family poetry jam!
  • Start with a Book: Poetry (opens in a new window)    
    Poetry books, hands on activities and crafts, parent tips, great poetry websites for kids, poetry apps, and more.
  • Introducing and reading poetry with English language learners    
    Poetry is so versatile, which makes it a great form to use in the ELL classroom. Poems can be used to introduce or practice new vocabulary, language structures, and rhyming devices. In addition, many ELLs come from cultural backgrounds rich with poetry and folktales.
  • Writing poetry with English language learners    
    Writing poetry is a great exercise for English language learners. It gives them a chance to experiment with language and vocabulary, and to freely share their ideas without the confinement of perfect grammar or firm structures.

Children’s poets on using poetry across the curriculum

Resources from other organizations

  • Hopi Poetry Lesson Plan (NEH EDSITEment)   
    In this lesson, students carefully examine literal and figurative language used in Hopi poetry to underscore the importance of place and corn to the Hopi culture. Examples are drawn from Hopi poet, Ramson Lomatewama, whose poetry celebrates his presence on the landscape, highlighting the things he sees, hears, feels, and experiences while working, walking, or simply standing still outside. These Hopi poems describe an intimate and personal interaction between the poet and the environment.
  • Lesson plans, afterschool and parent resources, and more (opens in a new window) (ReadWriteThink )   
    ReadWriteThink has a rich collection of classroom and at-home resources, including activities that introduce different forms of poetry and an online ‘word mover’ interactive tool.
  • Using primary sources to create found poetry (opens in a new window) (Library of Congress)   
    The Found Poetry Primary Source set supports students in honing their reading and historical comprehension skills by creating poetry based upon informational text and images — on topics as diverse as Helen Keller, Walt Whitman, women’s suffrage, and the Harlem Renaissance. A Teacher’s Guide is included.
  • Poetry 180 (opens in a new window) (Library of Congress)   
    Poetry 180 is designed to make it easy for students to hear or read a poem on each of the 180 days of the school year. The poems (primarily for high school students) are intended to be listened to, and all members of the school community can be included as readers. A great time for the readings would be following the end of daily announcements over the public address system.
  • Poetry lesson plans (opens in a new window) (Academy of American Poets)   
    Browse these lesson plans, most of which align with Common Core State Standards, with an eye toward developing skills of perception and imagination. You’ll also find a poetry glossary (opens in a new window).
  • African American poetry (opens in a new window) (Poetry Foundation)   
    In partnership with James Madison University, Dr. Maya Angelou, and the Target Corporation, the Poetry Foundation has developed curriculum for teaching essential African American poetry to students of all ages.
  • Poetry at home (opens in a new window) (Poetry Foundation)   
    “Learning to experience poetry does not require lectures or dissection.” Children’s literature blogger Susan Thomsen provides a helpful guide for how to get your kids reading and enjoying poetry.
  • Children’s Poetry Archive (opens in a new window)   
    Poetry doesn’t just live in books — it lives in the sound of the words and the voice of the poet. When poets read aloud, they breathe life into the poems. The Children’s Poetry Archive is a place where everyone can listen to poetry. Listen to Roald Dahl, Allan Ahlberg, Langston Hughes, and other poets read their work.

Book Finder

To find even more great poetry for children, visit our Book Finder tool, and select “poetry” in the genre listing, then filter by age, topics, and regions of the world.

More booklists

NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children

The National Council of Teachers of English selects presents the Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children (opens in a new window) to “honor a living American poet for his or her aggregate work for children ages 3–13.” A collection of poetry books from all the winners of the NCTE Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children is sustained and preserved at the University of Minnesota Children’s Literature Research Collections (CLRC (opens in a new window)) / Kerlan Collection (opens in a new window) at the Andersen Library.

Video interviews with children’s poets

Poets on poetry

Listen in as acclaimed children’s writers like Janet Wong, Marilyn Singer, Kwame Alexander, Ashley Bryan, Jack Prelutsky, Mary Ann Hoberman, and J. Patrick Lewis talk about reading poetry aloud and writing poetry.

National Poetry Month resources

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration of poetry established by the Academy of American Poets (opens in a new window). The core mission is simple: to celebrate poetry in all its forms and to bring more public visibility to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to the literature of poetry. Here are 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month (opens in a new window).

  • Dear Poet (opens in a new window)  
    This multimedia education project invites young people in grades five through twelve to write letters in response to poems written and read by some of the award-winning poets who serve on the Academy of American Poets board. Teachers — if you are interested in using Dear Poet in the classroom, take a look at these Common Core-aligned lesson plans (opens in a new window).
  • Teach This Poem (opens in a new window)  
    Produced for K-12 educators, Teach This Poem features one poem a week from our online poetry collection, accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. Sign up to receive your weekly poem!
  • Poem in Your Pocket Day (opens in a new window)  
    The idea is simple: select a poem you love during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with classmates, family, and friends on a selected day in April. You can also share your poem selection on Twitter by using the hashtag #pocketpoem.
  • 30 Poets/30 Days (opens in a new window)  
    The GottaBook blog hosts an annual 30 Poets/30 Days project. Each day in April, you’ll find a brand new poem from top children’s poets.
  • The Miss Rumphius Effect (opens in a new window)  
    The Miss Rumphius Effect blog features interviews with children’s poets, poetry writing prompts, and lots of great poetry book lists sorted by theme.

More poetry activities