How to Add Poetry to your Library in 10 minutes or less

Hi friends!

POETRY School Library

Let’s celebrate National Poetry Month, but let’s make it quick and easy for busy school librarians! Like you, right?

Read a poem

This one’s a no-brainer, right? Read a poem on your morning announcements. Read a poem before each lesson. Read a poem, show students the book cover, and watch them check it out and read it on their own!

Library Poetry Book

Butcher Paper Poetry Center

Stretch a length of butcher paper across a library table. Write a prompt on it with a marker. “Write a poem about an animal.” Add related poetry books and markers for your students. Stand back and watch the students’ creativity take over.

poetry center

Whisper Phone poetry center

Put whisper phones and poetry books on a table, with my free Whisper Read to Self Center sign. Watch students smile as they whisper poems to themselves.

Whisper Read to Self

Poetry Bulletin Boards

Write favorite poems on butcher paper, laminate them, and display them (year after year). I print mine in a large font and glue the words on to butcher paper. It still doesn’t take much time to get poems in front of student (and teacher) eyes.

Poetry Month Umbrella Bulletin Board

(Image from Christy Casher’s Miscellany blog)

Poetry Creation Station

@SEJHLibrary shared this idea and picture on Twitter. Let students cut words out of magazines and put them in a basket. Then they can choose words and glue them to printer paper to create their own poems! (Keep the trash can nearby for scraps!)

Poetry Creation Station

Roll the Dice, Write a Poem!

Rachel Lynette created this free printable poetry activity: Write a Poem by Rolling Dice. Students roll dice, then write that number of syllables on the line. It’s a fun way to help jump start their poetry writing!

Roll the Dice Poem

Display your Poetry Books

How easy is this? Take those poetry books off of your bookshelves and display them! Get those gorgeous covers out there where everyone can see them–on your checkout desk, on top of book shelves, in windows. I’ve even put food poetry books on top of the serving line in the school cafeteria (after asking our friendly cafeteria manager for permission first)!!

que rico poetry book

Set the Poetry Books Free

Some librarians allow each student an extra checkout if the extra book is a poetry book. After all, what good are they doing, sitting on the shelves? Students get excited about the privilege of checking out an extra book, and this happiness will spill over into their enjoyment of poetry!

flying books

Check Out Poetry Books to Your Teachers

Help your teachers to expand their poetry horizons beyond Shel Silverstein. When they ask for books about changes to the earth’s surface, add Volcano Wakes Up by Lisa Westberg Peters and illustrated by Steve Jenkins.

Volcano Poetry Book

When they are studying inventors, add a copy of Incredible Inventions, poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, to the stack of resources. Whenever teachers ask for books on a topic they are studying, see if you can add a poetry connection to their studies.

Poetry Listening Center

Poetry books, CDs, headphones, and a CD player–if you’ve got those, you can set up a poetry listening center. Students can listen to poetry after they’ve checked out their books. When you hear the poet read his or her own work, it really adds depth to the listening experience!

Poetry Listening Center

Additional Resources

Photo credit for flying books:Nathan O’Nions Bookworm via photopin (license)

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    1. Great ideas Cari! I think I can do the butcher paper animal poems today with my third grades! Would be great on other topics to connect to the classroom too…… Myths and legends, tall tales, ecosystems, etc! Thanks!

    2. We’ve been doing the Poetry Creation Station. We’ve added Black-Out Poetry this year. Thank you for your ideas.

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