Using poetry to ignite kids imaginations

Mar 29, 2013
As part of Scholastic’s global literacy campaign,Read Every Day. Lead a Better Life., we’ve identified organizations that work every day to see that children learn to read, love to read, and have access to books. We call them“Literacy Champions”andwe want to acknowledge their hard work here on the blog in ourLiteracy Champions series. In this next installment, we’re focusing on one of our more recent Literacy Champions, the Academy of American Poets. “Ink runs from the corners of my mouth. There is no happiness like mine. I have been eating poetry.” – Mark Strand Reading poems not only builds literacy skills, it lights the imagination. To introduce more young readers to the art form, in April 1996, the Academy of American Poets, the largest membership-based nonprofit organization for poets, launched National Poetry Month, which takes place every April. Today National Poetry Month is the largest literary celebration in the world, reaching millions of Americans, bringing communities together, and inspiring generations of future readers and writers. During the month, the Academy distributes over 160,000 complimentary poetry posters to teachers, librarians, and booksellers throughout the United States. The organization also works with teachers to encourage participation in poetry projects, such as the Dear Poet Project, where students engage with poetry by handwriting letters to established poets. On a special day during National Poetry Month, the Academy promotes Poem in Your Pocket Day, encouraging people to carry poems and share them with others. This can take many forms. One year second graders at Falcon Heights Elementary School in MN (pictured) celebrated by making their own poem-filled pockets, writing poems in chalk outside of the school, and posting hidden poems for other students to discover. The Academy provides a bevy of free resources for teachers and students on its popular website,, including poetry lesson plans; audio and video footage from poetry readings; thousands of poems and essays; and accessible, detailed biographies of poets. To learn more about National Poetry Month and other Academy of American Poets initiatives, Anyone who helps a child to read is a Literacy Champion in our book, and we invite you tojoin our growing listof people committed to supporting childhood literacy. You can also support a LiteracyChampion near you—browsea full liston our Read Every Day Lead a Better Life. site.