National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

National Poetry Month

Date posted: April 10, 2014

April is National Poetry Month.

The NWT Literacy Council has created three resources for using poetry with adult learners – Poetry for Northern Learners. Each unit contains four lessons each centred on one poem. These resources were developed to give instructors suggestions for ways to bridge learners’ worlds with the world or poetry and to provide instructors with activities that encourage learners to interact with poetry in a meaningful and enjoyable way that advances English literacy skills. Includes tips for teaching poetry along with lesson plans (prereading, reading and writing activities) and handouts. Each resource uses poems chosen for their Northern content and appropriate reading level.

Poetry for northern learners: English 110. (online)
Krystine Hogan. Yellowknife, NWT: NWT Literacy Council, 2011.
This unit, for learners at the English 110 level in adult basic education, contains four poetry studies. Each of the four poems highlights one poetic technique – repetition, imagery, rhyme and alliteration.

Poetry for northern learners: English 120. (online)
Krystine Hogan. Yellowknife, NWT: NWT Literacy Council, 2011.
The four poetry studies in this unit highlight similes, comparison and contrast between poetry and prose, onomatopoeia, and rhythm.

Poetry for northern learners: English 130. (online)
Krystine Hogan. Yellowknife, NWT: NWT Literacy Council, 2011.
The four lessons in this level are aimed at learners who are independent readers and writers. Learners are encouraged to ask questions; interpret language, imagery and symbolism; compare and contrast ideas; and explore the author’s choices to communicate a message.

Here are some of our library resources to help you explore creating poetry with your adult learners:

Celebrating language with adult literacy students: lessons to engage and inspire.
Francis Kazemek. Newark, DE: International Reading Association, 2008.
Written for both seasoned and novice teachers and tutors, this book focuses on expressive and poetic writing in adult literacy classes. It contains 23 specific lessons highlighting different forms of writing. The lesson plans include examples to use with learners and suggestions for modifying lessons to meet the needs of ELL adult literacy students.

Get lit: a 12-week course in literacy (and life) through poetry.
Diane Luby Lane. Bloomington, IN: Balboa Press, 2012.
A teacher’s curriculum and guide for introducing youth to literature, poetry, performance, and literacy. The standards-based curriculum blends classic literature and poetry with modern spoken-word performance. Developed for use with at-risk teens, the ideas in this book can be used to approach literacy development for other groups as well.

Our difficult sunlight: a guide to poetry, literacy, & social justice in classroom & community.
Georgia A. Popoff & Auraysh Ali Lansana. New York: Teachers & Writers Collaborative, 2010.
Two teaching poets with different backgrounds share their ways of using poetry, both reading it and writing it, to develop general literacy skills, improve reading comprehension, and support learning in content areas. It includes an exploration of creativity, self-expression, acceptance among diverse communities, and social justice. The lesson plans can be adapted to different grade/age levels.

Poetry writing with adult new readers, strategy 1: the list poem . (online)
Hilary Schenker. New York: New York Public Library, 2012.

To borrow any of the books, email

Looking for different poetry forms to try?

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