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Read Across America in April

Bring people and poetry together during April and enjoy the month-long celebration of poetry founded by the Academy of American Poets. Plant the seeds for poetry love with poetry-reading parties, poetry slams or poetry walls in April and look forward to year-round, life-long reading of poetry!

For Younger Readers

When Green Becomes Tomatoes: Poems for All Seasons written by Julie Fogliano and illustrated by Julie Morstad (Roaring Brook Press, 2016) celebrates the joys and beauty of spring, summer, fall, and winter in free verse.

Discuss and explore:

Talk about the seasons and what’s happening outside the window. Let students come up with their own poems about what they see outside and how they think and feel about it. Use their poems to Create a Poetree.


For Older Readers

Hypnotize a Tiger: Poems About Just About Everything by Calef Brown (Henry Holt and Co., 2015) is a bouncy collection of silliness that looks at everything from Catsup Cats to UFOs to Royal Gravy.

Discuss and explore:

After sharing this title full of wordplay, give students a chance to play around with words. Have them "interview" a word featured in the book and come up with a poem about how their word feels about being included in poetry.

A Fire in My Hands by Gary Soto (HMH Books for Young Readers, 2013) includes poems about universal human experiences and accompanying personal anecdotes about Soto’s life.

Discuss and explore:

Talk about the everyday, but meaningful moments celebrated in the poems. Have students compare them to the moments and the animated poems in this TED Talk: Billy Collins: Everyday moments, caught in time and consider making an animation of one of Gary Soto’s poems.

Engaging Readers of All Ages
Have students work together to write a group poem. Show students an object or an image and have them each write a phrase in response to what they see. Assemble the poem by having students read the lines they have each written one after another. Reassemble and edit the poem as many times as students like by changing the order lines are read. Or give small groups all the lines and see how many different poems emerge.

Students can work collaboratively on many different types of poems. Try leading them through a catalog or list poem, a thematic poem, or practice writing any poetic form together before starting on poems of their own.

Additional Resources

NEA’s resources for Bringing Poetry to the Classroom provides a daily poem that can be read in about one minute

Find poetry for all ages at

Visit Reading Rockets to meet favorite children's poets, and discover a treasure trove of poetry books, classroom activities, and online resources

Lesson plans for revitalizing poetry in the classroom from the Favorite Poem Project

Colorin Colorado offers advice and ideas for Writing Poetry with English Language Learners

Our Read Across America Online Store is Open!

Visit to purchase stickers, bookmarks, pencils, mugs, hats & more. We have all you need to create a memorable RAA celebration.


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Download the Read Across America 2017 Recommended Books Poster here (PDF).

Click here to download the 2018-19 Read Across America Resource Calendar and Poster!



Reading Rockets offers a wealth of research-based resources designed to launch young readers. It's for parents, teachers, and other educators in helping struggling readers build fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension skills.

Coming in 2019...

NEA's Read Across America Day
Friday, March 1, 2019

National Teacher Day
May 7, 2019

National Teacher Appreciation Week
May 6-10, 2019

American Education Week
November 11-15, 2019