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Books for Teaching Poetry and Motivating Poets

By Cate Sanazaro

Grades

6–8

From Unit Plan: Haiku – Poetry of the Samurai Warrior

This booklist provides categories for teaching haiku and other forms of poetry, a sampling of books written in haiku, and a literature selection to learn more about the samurai and Japan.

Creative Classroom Resources for Teaching and Enjoying Poetry

Favorite Poetry Lessons: A Poet's Great Activities for Writing: Free Verse, Rhyming List Poems, Synonym Poems, Clerihews, Wish Poems, Letter Poems, Persona Poems, and More! by Paul B. Janeczko
A nice deviation from the ordinary and includes fun lessons on unusual poetic forms.

Classroom Tip: I use this book to introduce unique forms of poetry.

How To Write Poetry by Paul B. Janeczko
Tips from poets on writing fun and serious poems.

Classroom Tip: Students appreciate the lessons from this celebrated poet.

Poetry for Young People: American Poetry by John Hollander, Sally Wern Comport
From the famous to the lesser known, two centuries of poetry highlighted with illustrations.

Classroom Tip: Another wonderful classroom resource for covering American poets.

Poetry Lessons: Everything You Need: A Mentor Teacher's Lessons and Select Poems That Help You Meet the Standards Across the Curriculum - and Teach Poetry with Confidence and Joy by Kathy A. Perfect

Classroom Tip: Motivate even the most reluctant readers with fresh ideas and poems in this beautifully written guide, a source of teaching ideas and inspiration.

Poetry U.S.A. by Paul Molloy

A wonderful classroom resource to introduce students to the works of American poets.

Classroom Tip: A thorough collection of America’s most loved poets. I refer to this throughout the year to illustrate styles of poetry and literary elements.

Opening a Door: Reading Poetry in the Middle School Classroom by Paul B. Janeczko

Janeczko offers so many great books on teaching poetry and this one is a classroom must. 

Classroom Tip: Carefully chosen poems that peak interest in reading and writing poetry.

The Scholastic Rhyming Dictionary by Sue Young
Kid-friendly organization makes this resource easy and fun to use. 

Classroom Tip: Not a must for free verse, but a fun guide to vowel and ending syllable rhyming sounds.

Teaching 10 Fabulous Forms of Poetry by Paul B. Janeczko
Not just for haiku! This marvelous resource has lessons and reproducibles for all the poetry students love to write.

Classroom Tip: A great lesson on haiku with reproducibles, plus a useful section on Senryu – a cousin to the haiku poem that centers on human nature.

Teaching Poetry: Yes, You Can! by Jacqueline Sweeney
Every teacher can benefit from this hassle-free guide!

Classroom Tip: Classroom tested, teacher friendly! If you are hesitant to introduce poetry, this resource is for you. Great teaching ideas, sample poems and classroom activities!

Wonderful Haiku

Stone Bench in an Empty Park by Paul B. Janeczko, Henri Silberman
Discover poetry in everyday surroundings.

Classroom Tip: My favorite book to introduce haiku. The black and white photography beautifully illustrates how poetry exists all around us. The haiku is written by many poets, and includes a very useful section on history and the ‘how-to’ of haiku.

One Leaf Rides The Wind by Celeste Mannis
A visually appealing book that defines the artistry of haiku.

Classroom Tip: Although meant for primary grades, this book is a wonderful example of haiku for any age.

Literature Selection:

The Samurai’s Tale by Erik C. Haugaard
A wonderful read aloud novel to set the scene of 16th century Japan. Historically accurate, this tale is of an orphaned samurai’s son forced to grow up as a servant and is great for discussing mood.

Classroom Tip: I read this book to the class before we start out unit on haiku. It provides a good foundation for learning about the days of the samurai.

My Scholastic

Susan Cheyney

GRADES: 1-2
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