Teaching Strategies

National Poetry Month: Useful Resources for Teachers and Students

In honor of National Poetry Month in April, Matt Davis has put together a list of useful poetry links for educators, including resources from the web, Edutopia’s most popular poetry-themed blogs, and other quick reads.

April 1, 2013 Updated February 23, 2016
Photo credit: kellywritershouse via flickr (CC BY 2.0)

'Tis National Poetry Month! In April, classrooms around the country will dive into the expressive art of poetry -- Shakespeare, Neruda, Angelou, Hughes, Dickinson, the list goes on and on.

There are many great ways to bring poetry into the classroom, and whether it's through reading, writing, or performing, poetry can be a great way to engage students. To help you bring poetry into your classrooms, we've compiled a list of some of the best open resources.

  • National Poetry Month, Poets.org: What can I say? This is a one-stop-shop for all things National Poetry Month. Poets.org's resources include an insightful page for educators, as well as links to events going on around the country, a list of 30 ideas for celebrating, and information about Poem in Your Pocket Day on April 30. There’s plenty of useful stuff here to keep your classroom busy throughout the month.
  • ReadWriteThink Poetry Lesson Plans: There are a number of relevant lesson plans here for students of every grade level and reading ability. There are also some great interactive media for classrooms, as well as links to outside websites focused on teaching poetry.
  • The Poetry Learning Lab, Poetry Foundation: For students, the Poetry Learning Lab is a great source of knowledge, including a glossary of poetry terms, links to public domain poems, and inspiring essays on poetry from writers and educators. The Lab also features a useful page of teacher resources, with outside links and original content. Another cool feature, the Poetry Foundation features interactive virtual poetry tours of three U.S. cities.
  • Reading Rockets Literacy Resources for National Poetry Month: Helping students improve as readers is the focus of Reading Rockets, and they’ve developed this resource to help teachers use poetry to accomplish this goal. There are interviews with poets, teaching resources and many other useful tidbits. For teachers of English-language learners, Reading Rockets’ sister site, Colorin Colorado, offers some great poetry links, as well.
  • EDSITEment National Poetry Month Exemplars: The National Endowment produced these standalone lessons for select poems by well-known poets like Emily Dickinson, Rita Dove, and Lewis Carroll. The poem-specific resources include a lesson plan, related resources, a link to the work, and information about the author. The lessons were designed for English language arts, align to the Common Core, and are meant for elementary, middle school, and high school students.
  • Selected Works, Public Domain Poems: This is a great place for students to explore the works of favorite poets, from Oscar Wilde to Percy Shelley. All of the poems are in the public domain and are open and accessible for classrooms. The Poetry Foundation also features an immense collection of more than 12,000 poems that are searchable by topic, occasion, author, and more.

More Quick Poetry Teaching Resources and Collections

There are so many great poetry resources for teachers, and it's always a challenge to round them all up. Here are a few more useful links from around the web, including inspirational articles, more lesson plan collections, and tips for teaching poetry.

From the Edutopia Vault:

Each year, Edutopia releases a number of extremely useful and insightful blog posts about teaching poetry. These are a few of the most popular from the last few years:

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