Since its creation in 1996, National Poetry Month has reminded the public of the importance poetry plays in our culture and has become the biggest literacy celebration in America. Here are five fun ideas and resources to help you make celebrating National Poetry Month feel more like a party and less like a chore.
1. Read Alouds
I love to bring poetry into the classroom for read alouds. Since they’re so much shorter than novels and even picture books, they work great at the end of an activity or as a warmup at the beginning of class. You could even add a few to your morning meeting or community circles. Poetry is highly engaging and can help students develop their critical thinking skills. You’ll
definitely want to check out this virtual library for my favorite poetry read alouds. This freebie includes class, diverse, and modern poets, so you can choose the ones you know your students will be sure to love!
2. Poetry Escape Rooms
Elementary students are not too young to read the classics! My students loved doing my Secret Garden Poetry Escape Rooms when learning about classic poetry. This resource features poems ranging from Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe to Maya Angelou and Langston Hughes and can help you get students engaged and challenge them with high-level questions on meaning, figurative language and word choice, and elements of poetry. This resource is available for 2nd-3rd grades and 4th-5th grades. It comes in printable, Google Slides, and Webscape formats.
3. Learn About Poetry Types
What common misconceptions about poetry do your students have? Maybe they’ve heard all poems must rhyme or poetry is only about love. In order to help students connect with poetry and see that poetry is actually interesting, they need to explore all different types of poems. Check out my Types of Poems Targeted Practice Unit. With this low-prep unit, your students will be reading and writing their own limericks, haikus, rhymes, free verse, and more!
4. Poem in Your Pocket
This activity is so much fun! As students explore various poems throughout the month of April, choose one week to be Poem in Your Pocket week. Have students rewrite their favorite poem(s) (for primary students, you could have poems printed and cut out for them to choose from) and keep them in their pockets. Throughout the week, school staff and teachers can stop students at any time and have them read the poem in their pockets. What a great way to build relationships, energize students about poetry, and celebrate their voice!
5. Standards-Based Close Reading
Close reading is always a great way to get students to practice key skills while learning about poetry. Using real poetry in your close reading lessons exposes students to a broad range of poets and different types of poetry. I created my Core Comprehension close reading units to include age-appropriate poems from famous poets so students can experience a broad range of poems while they learn key reading comprehension skills.
I hope these fun tips help you and your students celebrate National Poetry Month!