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The Study of Poetry and Literature for Children & Young Adults

Programming Ideas

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Programming Ideas

  • Start every storytime with a poem, The Rainbow Hand: Poems about Mothers and Children  contains beautiful short poetry that small children will respond to.
  • Teach and have the children recite alphabet poems.
  • Recite animal poems while the children get to act out the animals featured.
  • Teach fingerplays, (small children love these) and have them perform them for the parents.
  • Match poems to picture books, Bombs Bursting in Air, a poem about the 4th of July in Janet Wong's Good Luck Gold and Other Poems goes well with her picture book, Apple Pie, 4th of July.


  • Provide (request money from the PTA .(Parent/Teacher Association) for notebooks, one for each child, so they can create their own poet anthologies over the course of the school year.
  • Recite a poem at the start of each class day.
  • Have copies available of each poem available so that the children may choose what to include in their anthologies.
  • Take an elementary class outside to read the poem Clover from Use Janet Wong's book, Knock on Wood: Poetry About Superstitions. The poem tells us that if you find a four-leaf clover in the grass, a horse was born there a long time ago. If you give this clover to your friend, you will receive fame, a faithful friend, wealth and good health.
  • Have many poetry books always available during SSR (Sustained Silent Reading).
  • At the end of the year, invite all the parents to a Poetry Reading. Each child will read a poem of their choosing. The child will introduce the poem, naming the author, if the child is the author, giving some input as to why they wrote the poem, and then read it.
  • Record the entire presentation. Burn a DVD (more money from the PTA) as an end of the year gift for each parent.
Middle School
  • Use the above mentioned poem anthology strategy.
  • Once a week at the same time have a child perform a poem that you have previewed.
  • Bring a children's poet in for a workshop on writing poetry.
  • Incorporate poetry into your curriculum especially featuring historical and cultural poetry.
  • Use Janet Wong's book, Knock on Wood: Poetry About Superstitions as a springboard to research  different countries superstitions. Have the children create their own poem based on an interesting superstition.
  • Have an end of year recital for the either the parents or the school.
High School
  • Start every day with a new poem.
  • Post it on the blackboard or the wall on large paper.
  • Encourage poetry in all aspects of the curriculum, (historical, foreign language, cultural).
  • Use A Suitcase of Seaweed and Other Poems by Janet Wong to study immigrants and their cultures. Have the teens research their background and write a poem about an interesting ancestor.
  • Any of the Behind the Wheel: Driving Poems would be excellent to start each high school driver's education class
  • Create a student run newspaper that just features poems written by students.
  • Cosponsor a poetry slam with the local library. This will allow your students to meet and listen to other area young poets.

"In a way, too, I suppose, poetry is like math. An idea for a poem is a problem that needs to be solved-and for me, the fun is finding an answer."
---Janet S. Wong