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Elementary: Poetry



This guide is designed to help elementary school teachers of poetry find information that will be useful to prepare lesson plans for the classroom.

Catalog Search Strategies

When searching for children’s materials the word “juvenile” must be included in the search strategy. Omitting juvenile will expand the results to include young adult and adult materials. For the best outcome use “Keyword” or “Subject” search.  

Targeting the Search:
Limit search by:
Genre: Poetry
Poetry Book Formats: Anthologies, topical, Individual works, & poetry picture books
Writing Style: Rhyming or Rhyme, Lyrical, Verse
Media Format: Videorecording, DVD, Sound (refers to CD)
Poetic Forms: Concrete poetry, riddle, verse novels, & songs in book form

Sample Search:
Query: A poetry book for children about nature in a CD format
Search Strategy:  poetry nature sound  juvenile


Poetry Aloud Here!, by Sylvia Vardell, 2006. 218 pages. x027 V291
While this book gives author and book suggestions, the real value is in the chapter “How Do You Present Poetry To Children?” This essential book, gives great strategies of how to teach poetry in the classroom. Examples include call-and response stanzas and how to incorporate movement in the poetry lesson.

Hip Hop Speaks to Children, Edited by Nikki Giovanni, 2008. 72 pages. x811.08 H6675
This poetry collection has a contemporary approach that 21st century kids can relate to. The book includes gorgeous illustrations and an audio CD of the poems that are often read by the authors.

Haiku Activities: Asian Arts & Crafts for Creative Kids, by Patricia Donegan, 2003. 64 pages. x895 D681
If you are about to teach the style of Haiku, this book is highly recommended. Included are “nine easy activities {that} will help {your students} to write the first line, find good images, and understand the structure of Haiku.” Various Haiku activities are also included.

Poem-Making: Ways to Begin Writing Poetry, by Myra Cohn Livingston, 1991. 162 pages. x372 L787
This book gives a general overview of how to write a poem. Chapters include voices of poetry, sound and rhyme, and figures of speech. This title is recommended to be used as a springboard to writing poems.

Pizza, Pigs and Poetry: How to Write a Poem, by Jack Prelutsky, 2008.192 pages. x426 P924
This selection is geared toward the aspiring child poet. This humorous book includes helpful tips, such as including realistic personal examples, vocabulary, and irony within the poetry work. Additionally poetic license is explained in accessible ways to teachers and students.

The Poetry Break, by Caroline Feller Bauer, 1995. 347 pages. x808 B344-1
This surprisingly in-depth book has everything you need to know about how to incorporate poetry on a daily basis. Example includes dramatic presentation and posting students poems on bulletin boards. This title is a good resource for teachers, librarians and even parents.


Library databases can be accessed on the Los Angeles Public Library home page by clicking on the “Research & Homework” link. Most databases can be accessed from home with a Los Angeles Public Library card.

Novelist K-8 (Ebscohost)
This database is a comprehensive readers advisory tool for fiction & poetry selections for children, pre-K through eighth grade. An excellent resource for discovering popular titles in the poetry genre. 

Something About the Author (Gale)
Educators can use this database to research information about notable children’s poets. The database is searchable by keyword, full text and author. Search results can be targeted by type of resource, which includes biography, autobiography and obituaries of individual poets.


The link for electronic resources is found on the Los Angeles Public Library homepage.  Materials in Overdrive can be downloaded with a library card.

Dark Emperor and Other Poems of the Night, by Joyce Sidman [electronic resource] Overdrive e-book, 2010.
This book highlights the wonderful world of creatures who live in the dark. The well-crafted verses can enhance a lesson about the nocturnal world.

Joyful Noise-I am Phoenix, by Paul Fleischman, [electronic resource] Overdrive e-audiobook. 32 min. 2005.
This audiobook offers listeners a selection of poems presented by two readers. In a classroom setting, teachers can utilize this collection as examples of dramatic presentations of the poetry genre. Paul Fleischman won the Newbery Medal Award in 1989 for Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices.


NCTE: National Council of Teachers of English: A Professional Association of Educators in English Studies, Literacy and Language Arts.
Lesson plans, articles and suggested book titles are some of the tools available for educators interested in sharing poetry with students. Lesson plans are presented by grade and all levels of education are addressed.

Poetry Archive
This Site offers a vast archive of poems with audio recordings by individual poets. The Site is searchable by poet, poem title, theme of poem, or form. Also included is a complete glossary of poetic terms. Special sections for teachers, children and students make this a useful resource for all ages.

Poetry Foundation
This comprehensive Site has numerous resources for teachers that encourage inclusion of poetry in daily life. Educators will find an updated bestsellers list and recommendations from renown children’s poets. Videos are provided depicting poetry reading demonstrations. A selection of individual poems, which are organized by age range and subject, facilitate locating poetry selections for sharing.
This excellent Site from the Academy of American Poets is a wonderful resource for educators. The scope covers all levels of education and the Site is interactive via a virtual community for members. There is a online forum, suggested poetry selected by teachers, a resource center with links to professional development opportunities and essays on teaching tips regarding the poetry subject. All resources are accessible by clicking on the “For Educators” link located on the home page.
This Site by Meadowbrook Press explains how to have fun with the poetry genre. Provided are ideas for poetry theater, activities, and general tips for teaching poetry.

Additional Resources

Awards for Children’s Poets:
The Lee Bennett Hopkins Promising Poet Award: Given to new authors (no more than two published books) of children’s young adult poetry.
The Lee Bennett Hopkins Award for Children’s Poetry: Given to an author annually for the most outstanding book of poetry in the previous calendar year.
NCTE Poetry Award for Excellence in Poetry for Children: Lifetime achievement award for children’s poets.

Author Sites:
Many children’s poets offer educators teacher tips and information on their Websites. Although the Sites are commercial in nature, most are filled with a wealth of information.

Created by:
Mona Gilbert, Children’s Librarian, Northridge Branch (
Liz Tracton: Children’s Librarian, Chatsworth Branch (
Revised: May 2012