Reading & Literacy

U.S. Poet Laureate Promotes ‘Poem a Day’ Plan for Schools

By Catherine Gewertz — October 24, 2001 1 min read
  • Save to favorites
  • Print

The hope of the new U.S. poet laureate is simple but profound: On every day of the school year, in every school in America, children will hear one poem read aloud.

Billy Collins, who was appointed to the post of poet laureate consultant in poetry last summer by the librarian of Congress, planned to announce his new program, “Poetry 180,” this week at his inaugural reading as the country’s poetry guide and adviser.

The idea of the program, named for the average number of days in a school year, is to expose children to the beauty and power of language through poetry, unburdened by analysis.

“It could be a student, or a teacher, or coach reading a poem every day,” Mr. Collins said in an interview last week. “No study, just listening.”

Jill D. Brett, a spokeswoman for the Library of Congress, where Mr. Collins is in residence during his eight- month appointment, said the library envisions having 180 poems posted on its Web site, available for any teacher or administrator who wants to use them, by January, the intended start of the program.

Library officials hoped to have the first 20 poems loaded onto the site by this week, along with an introduction by Mr. Collins, who is a professor of English at the City University of New York’s Herbert H. Lehman College.

Love of Language

“The library hopes to inspire kids to develop a love of language,” Ms. Brett said. “When poems are read aloud, the reading becomes a community event.”

Ms. Brett said Library of Congress officials also hope Mr. Collins’ program will bring more students and teachers to the library’s Web site—already a popular site, with 1 billion visits last year—where they can find other useful classroom resources.

The idea for “Poetry 180" came from Mr. Collins, whose poetry is known for its accessibility and for combining humor with reflections on ordinary life. He will choose the works that are included, Ms. Brett said.

Other poet laureates have tried to spread a love of poetry to schoolchildren. In the past six to eight years, laureates such as Rita Dove have made it a priority to conduct outreach programs to schools, Ms. Brett noted.

But this is the first time a poet laureate has used the Internet for outreach, she said.

Events

This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Student Well-Being Webinar
Start Strong With Solid SEL Implementation: Success Strategies for the New School Year
Join Satchel Pulse to learn why implementing a solid SEL program at the beginning of the year will deliver maximum impact to your students.
Content provided by Satchel Pulse
Teaching Live Online Discussion Seat at the Table: How Can We Help Students Feel Connected to School?
Get strategies for your struggles with student engagement. Bring questions for our expert panel. Help students recover the joy of learning.
This content is provided by our sponsor. It is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Education Week's editorial staff.
Sponsor
Science Webinar
Real-World Problem Solving: How Invention Education Drives Student Learning
Hear from student inventors and K-12 teachers about how invention education enhances learning, opens minds, and preps students for the future.
Content provided by The Lemelson Foundation

EdWeek Top School Jobs

Teacher Jobs
Search over ten thousand teaching jobs nationwide — elementary, middle, high school and more.
View Jobs
Principal Jobs
Find hundreds of jobs for principals, assistant principals, and other school leadership roles.
View Jobs
Administrator Jobs
Over a thousand district-level jobs: superintendents, directors, more.
View Jobs
Support Staff Jobs
Search thousands of jobs, from paraprofessionals to counselors and more.
View Jobs

Read Next

Reading & Literacy Opinion No, Fewer Books, Less Writing Won't Add Up to Media Literacy
NCTE’s call to “decenter” print media in favor of digital media has some troubling implications, argues Mike Schmoker.
Mike Schmoker
4 min read
conceptual illustration of a stairway of books leading out of a dark space filled with letters
Vanessa Solis/Education Week and iStock/Getty images
Reading & Literacy Letter to the Editor Reading Recovery Debate Is ‘Polarizing’
The executive director of the Reading Recovery Community pushes back against criticism of the program.
1 min read
Illustration of an open laptop receiving an email.
iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy What the Research Says Concerns Raised Over Reading Recovery's Long-Term Effects
The popular literacy intervention showed dramatic benefits for 1st graders, but follow-up research points to drawbacks years later.
5 min read
Image of a young boy selecting books in the library.
Getty