In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, the Academy of American Poets has launched a read-and-response exercise designed to bring out the fun of reading poetry and help students improve their writing and comprehension skills.
The “2006 Poetry Read-a-Thon,” co-sponsored by the National Council of Teachers of English, encourages middle school students to read poems of their choice from the anthology How to Eat a Poem, which is provided free to participating classrooms. Students are also asked to write a 75 to 100 word response to each of the poems they read, reacting to elements like imagery, sound, and meaning.
Throughout the month of April, students are to keep a log of the poems they’ve written about. Teachers may maintain a master log of all poems read by the class.
Teachers can submit one to three examples of their students’ responses to be considered for publication on the AAP’s Web site. Participating classrooms can also enter a raffle to receive one of five $250 donations to their school library.
The AAP’s Web site includes a class-enrollment form, as well as a teachers’s guide, log forms, and a discussion forum.