Reading & Literacy

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

By Catherine Gewertz — October 24, 2001 1 min read

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

Jobs The EdWeek Top School Jobs Virtual Career Fair
Find teaching jobs and other jobs in K-12 education at the EdWeek Top School Jobs virtual career fair.
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
Curriculum Webinar
How to Power Your Curriculum With Digital Books
Register for this can’t miss session looking at best practices for utilizing digital books to support their curriculum.
Content provided by OverDrive
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
Embracing Student Engagement: The Pathway to Post-Pandemic Learning
As schools emerge from remote learning, educators are understandably worried about content and skills that students would otherwise have learned under normal circumstances. This raises the very real possibility that children will face endless hours
Content provided by Newsela

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 Popular 'Wonders' Curriculum Shows Gaps in Alignment to Reading Research
A new review claims that the curriculum has gaps in its alignment to reading research, and doesn't offer enough supports for teachers.
6 min read
Image of a girl selecting a book in the library.
Hakase_/iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy Pandemic Prompts Some States to Pass Struggling 3rd Graders
As families wrestle with online learning, a pandemic economy and mental health difficulties, some states are delaying 3rd grade retention.
Aallyah Wright, Stateline.org
8 min read
The Mississippi Department of Education offices are seen in Jackson, Miss. on March 19, 2020. The state's board of education decided this winter that it would suspend the retention policy for third graders this year, allowing all students to pass on to the fourth grade even if they fail the standardized reading test.
The Mississippi Department of Education offices are seen in Jackson, Miss. The state's board of education decided this winter that it would suspend the retention policy for 3rd graders this year, allowing all students to pass on to the 4th grade even if they fail the standardized reading test.
Rogelio V. Solis/AP
Reading & Literacy Opinion Seven Strategies for Grammar Instruction
Five educators share instructional strategies for engaging and effective grammar instruction.
14 min read
Images shows colorful speech bubbles that say "Q," "&," and "A."
iStock/Getty
Reading & Literacy Spotlight Spotlight on Literacy & Language Education
In this Spotlight, review what may be missing in teacher training and the supports offered to students plus more.