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Open a Poetry Cafe to Celebrate Student Writing!

By Beth Newingham on April 23, 2012
  • Grades: 3–5

Did your students write poems in honor of Poetry Month in April? If so, what better way to celebrate their poems than to read them aloud in an authentic cafe setting?

My teaching partner and I have set up a Poetry Cafe at our school and invited parents and other special guests to come hear students recite their favorite poems aloud. Since so much of poetry is about the rhythm and the phrasing of the words, the only way their poems can be truly appreciated is to read them aloud.

A Poetry Cafe allows students to share the work they have done not only with their classmates and teachers, but also with the special guests that they invite. Even the parents are asked to join in the fun by reading their own favorite poems aloud.

We transform a common area of our school into our Poetry Cafe. We cover TV trays with black tablecloths, create a stage with a microphone for the student readers, serve snacks and coffee, and turn the lights down low to set the mood.

Students are asked to wear black shirts and jeans to honor the beatnik culture in which poetry readings at small coffee shops were popular.

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