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In this blog entry, I continue to discuss Children’s Literature in Action, an invaluable text by Sophia Vardell. The chapter on poetry is particularly rich in ideas for practical use by librarians who work closely with children and tweens. Here are some ideas for activities and displays gleaned from the Poetry Chapter:
- Celebrate birthdays of poets (I can see doing this with both famous and less well-known poets) by sharing a sample poem or book by the “birthday poet” on that day.
- Organize poet visits to one’s library.
- Choose a variety of poets to highlight on a rotating basis in a display.
- On page 135, she explores an idea for promoting poetry, entitled “Living Anthology,” in which one takes ones favorite poems from the collection and places them around the entire building. This idea, given by poet Georgia Head, can be used effectively by both school and public libraries that serve elementary and middle school children and tweens. In fact this is an activity idea I plan to put into practice during National Poetry Month this coming April.
- At my library, I have a group of tweens (mostly sixth and seventh graders) who participate in a weekly Creative Writing workshop. In the first week of April, I will ask the creative writing tweens to explore and find their favorite poems from our existing collection. After having a couple of weeks to explore poetry and time to pick out some of their favorite poems, we will create poetry “posters” to place around the library, complete with a cover of the book that the poem was taken from, and an invitation to other kids, teens and perhaps even adults to submit their most loved poems for a similar display as well!
- Chorus reading – An adult reads, and children echo a reoccurring line or word.
- Call and response – The group is divided into two, each take turns reading lines in a kind of ‘back and forth’
- Line-around – individual kids volunteer (they should not be forced) to read a single line… Ideally, the whole poem gets read line by line in this way.