by Jennifer Wodlinger
Teacher Librarian, Calistoga Joint Unified School District
The early onset of spring and beautiful weather draws me to reading material that awakens my senses a little more playfully than the Goodwin biography on Theodore Roosevelt that held me captive for several winter, rainy Sunday afternoons. Mr. Roosevelt and Ms. Goodwin would agree; it’s time for some light spring reading!
It’s time to embark on the outdoors and what better place than the beautiful Napa Valley to find a picnic spot with a book of poetry in hand.
Poetry is essential spring reading. A poet can arouse our interests with human experience that brings figurative language to life. Poetry is personal fulfillment in short segments that evoke emotions of love, fear, anger, happiness, defeat, sorrow, and joy. Poetry allows students the freedom to establish a point of view that may be different from their peers or teachers.
National Poetry Month, celebrated in April since 1996, provides a perfect opportunity for school librarians to dust off the 811’s and connect with students on an aesthetic level.
Looking for some ideas for poetry projects? The Academy of American Poets offers several fun ideas, and here is my favorite:
Select a poem you love and carry it with you on Poem in Your Pocket Day, Thursday, April 21. Sharing a poem with co-workers, family, and friends might spark some interest and conversation.
Ideas and suggestions for poetry lessons are abundant through educational websites such as Edutopia, School Library Journal, and Read, Write, Think.
In recent years, poetry has gained more recognition by teachers because of the significant role it plays in the Common Core State Standards. The Poetry Friday Anthology crosses the curriculum by bringing the Poetry Friday concept into classrooms for five minutes every Friday to explore a poem that connects with children’s lives. These are teachable moments in reinforcing language skills on every level.
Poetry allows students to connect to culture, near and far. It provides an avenue for personal fulfillment on many levels while enlightening the reader with aesthetic viewpoints on other human experiences. Poetry engages students in reading and learning about cultural events, beliefs, and traditions. Poetry nourishes the soul!
Jennifer has been an educator for over thirty years, and is currently the Teacher Librarian for Calistoga Joint Unified School District. She enjoys collaborating with teachers to implement technology and 21st century learning into collaborative lessons. She worked as elementary school teacher in Missouri and received her Library Science certification from Missouri State University in 1995. Jennifer recently moved to Santa Rosa, CA from Grand Junction, CO., where she worked as a Teacher Librarian at Redlands Middle School for ten years. She was a member of Colorado’s Power Library Project and her school had the distinction of being a High Performance Power Library. She is currently enrolled in a Master’s program at Touro University and plans to graduate in August with an MA Ed. in Innovative Learning.