The Benefits of Teaching Poetry in the Classroom

You may or may not know that April is National Poetry Month. If you had no idea, have no fear, as you still have 12 days left to revel in the wide world of poetry. Many students (and educators) shy away from teaching poetry; the form and meticulous attention to language can turn off even the most voracious readers. But poetry is far more than flowery language or Shakespearean sonnets—it is a means to express oneself and to encourage literacy and writing for life.

National Poetry Month is a month-long, national celebration that was started by the Academy of American Poets in 1996. According to Poets.org, “The concept is to widen the attention of individuals and the media—to the art of poetry, to living poets, to our complex poetic heritage, and to poetry books and journals of wide aesthetic range and concern.”

For educators, Poets.org offers some wonderful tools for teaching poetry in the classroom including:

  • free lesson plans and curriculum;
  • tips for teachers on preparation, reading, writing, and other activities;
  • more than 400 audioclips; and
  • a list of 30 ways to celebrate National Poetry Month.

By encouraging poetry readership during April (and year-round), you will also nurture students’ creativity, critical thinking, public-speaking ability, and appreciation of the written and spoken word.