Friday, March 23, 2012

Why I Teach Poetry in Elementary School

I never thought of myself as a poet, but when I think back the first writing that I did that got public attention was a poem that was hung in the school office when I was in second grade.

When I started my student teaching, I learned to use Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky poems as mini lessons in reading and writing.  As a substitute teacher, I always had a book of poetry in my bag to share with students.  I never knew when I would need an extra activity.  Poetry was quick and could lend itself to all sorts of impromptu literary lessons.  It was also just plain fun.

Here I am twenty-one years later.  No matter what age group I have taught, kindergarten through sixth grade, I continue to read and write poetry with my students.  Of the blogs I maintain, my poetry blog gets the least traffic, but it's the one I always have energy to maintain at the end of the day.

Next month is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo).  I plan to participate personally in the challenge of thirty poems in thirty days.  I plan to have my students write a poem each day that we are in school and and assemble a class eBook.  I would love to have other classes join me.

Reading and writing poetry is contagious.  I often end the day reading funny poems to my students.  Recently, one of my fifth grade boys went to the school library to check out a copy of the poetry book I was reading to the class.  The librarian was surprised until I told her he wants to pick out the poems he thinks I will be embarrassed reading aloud.  I don't mind; he's reading poetry.


  1. I carried poetry lessons from elementary school into my teenage years, and they became essential during that turbulent time. Wrote some in college as well.

    1. I usually do some form of the NaPoWriMo Challenge with my students. Some of them really get into it.


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