Article for Teachers

Back to School with Poetry

Poetry lessons and resources for teachers.
By The Editors
Illustration of a tabletop with a typewriter, cat, and writing supplies.

Calling all teachers! Find new ways to bring your poetry lesson plans to life with these articles and other resources from the Poetry Foundation’s extensive Learn section.


Elementary and Middle School


Art by Anna Marinenko

On Sound and Rhythm

A way to start teaching poetry to children and young adults.


Image Courtesy of Charis Tsevis via FlickrSticks and Stones and Words as Weapons

What African American poetry teaches us.


Image Courtesy of Kevin Dooley via FlickrSeeing Ourselves in the World

Poetry enables students to explore their identities and identifications.


Image of hand checking off boxes on a standardized test sheet.Common Core State Standards Text Exemplars

Poems to integrate into your English Language Arts classroom.


ALTTalking To, Talking About, Talking With

Language Arts students in conversation with poetic texts.


ALTAgain! Again!

Children's poetry and the joys of repetition.


ALT Be a Bunch of Yous

Students use their imaginations to expand a sense of self.


Explore videosarticles, and our Young People’s Poet Laureate book picks for more ideas on engaging children with poetry.


High School, College, and Beyond


ALT Advice for Teachers

Classroom tips for approaching poetry, based on what matters most to you and your students.


Gwendolyn Brooks Gwendolyn Brooks 101

Classic poems from a Chicago poet.


Robert FrostRobert Frost: “The Road Not Taken”

Our choices are made clear in hindsight.


William ShakespeareWilliam Shakespeare 101

An introduction to the greatest English language poet and playwright.


Langston HughesLangston Hughes 101

Understanding a poet of the people, for the people.


Walt Whitman Walt Whitman 101

Celebrating everybody’s radical poet.


ALT John Keats: “Ode on a Grecian Urn”

How to read the most famous poem “for ever.”


ALTAgainst Slogging: Engaging Poetry in the Classroom

Ways to make every text, every minute count with struggling readers.


ALT Nurturing the Omnivore: Approaches to Teaching Poetry

Explore the many paths to experiencing poetry in the classroom.


Image Courtesy of Tim Wang via FlickrWhy Write in Form?

Mastering the traditional ways to forge new ones.



More Resources

How to Read a Poem
A 16-part guide on where to begin with poetry, with plenty of examples and suggested reading.
By Edward Hirsch

Poetry Off the Shelf: Making the Case for Poetry
A podcast about inviting classroom fun through songs and speeches.

Poems about Teaching and Teachers
Poetry about learning, for teachers and students alike.
By The Editors

Poetry Off the Shelf: Teaching Poetry in Times Like These
This episode covers alternative approaches to teaching in a highly fraught political age.

And this is just the beginning. Be sure to check out our Educators section, which includes an extensive glossary of poetic terms, historic essays on poetic theory, and poem guides for all ages.

Originally Published: September 10th, 2013
Related Content
  1. September 14, 2013
     Noah B

    where is Tony Hoagland's essay "Twenty Little Poems That Could Save
    America"? (

  2. September 16, 2013
     Tacorya watkins

    hi my name is tacorya and i really love to write i just
    wanna let the people know their not in this alone so here

  3. August 14, 2015
     Margaret Bell

    That school looks very much like the one I attended when I was in third, fourth, and fifth grades. The school has become a wonderful toy museum.