From Category: Resources and Contests for Students and Educators
Fun, attractive site introduces the basics of poetic technique, plus a few writing prompts to get you started. The addictive "e-muse" poetry generator creates surprisingly good free verse by asking you to fill in the blanks, Mad Libs style.
This joint venture of the Poetry Foundation and the National Endowment for the Arts awards over $100,000 in scholarships annually to high school students for memorizing and performing classic poems. Top prize is $20,000.
Poetry Through the Ages, a project of the Institute for Dynamic Educational Development (IDEA), is a free online exhibit that showcases poetic forms and movements from different cultures, with examples and instructions. A special feature of the site is a new poetic form called "node poetry", which breaks the traditional linear flow of a poem into branching clusters of words that the reader can read in different sequences. Drawing its inspiration from synthetic and visual poetry, the form is found exclusively online, and enables readers to take the poet's lines and construct the poem as they explore it.
Polyphony Lit is an Illinois-based nonprofit that publishes a high school literary magazine edited and written by high school students from around the globe. Since launching in 2005, they have given feedback to over 15,000 submissions from 68 countries. Polyphony sponsors the Claudia Ann Seaman Awards, a free writing contest with cash prizes for high school students.
Portland's famous bookseller offers over 1,500 books of poetry for children and young adults. Recommendations and reviews help you choose. Free North American shipping on qualified orders over $50.
Software company Adobe's blog offers this useful overview of plagiarism: how to detect it, and how to avoid it. Questionable practices include not only verbatim copying, but summarizing or closely paraphrasing others' work without attribution.
This resource portal from Purdue University in Indiana features basic exercises to learn grammar, punctuation, spelling, APA and MLA citation styles, and composing resumes and business letters.
Launched in 2010, QBF publishes poetry, fiction, nonfiction, and artwork by students at the Five Colleges in Western Massachusetts: Smith, Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and U Mass Amherst. Editors say, "We seek to bridge the barriers between the colleges and to promote our generation's voice by providing students with space for writing, discussion, and a collaborative intellectual experience."
To celebrate the centennial of Children's Book Week in 2019, the US Library of Congress has made available a free digital collection of 100+ out-of-print, public-domain children's books from before 1924. These historically significant works include examples of the work of American illustrators such as W.W. Denslow, Peter Newell, and Howard Pyle, as well as works by renowned English illustrators Randolph Caldecott, Walter Crane, and Kate Greenaway.
Rattle: Poetry for the 21st Century is a well-regarded literary journal that produces this annual anthology of writing by young people. The editors select the top 52 poems from thousands of submissions from all over the world. Entrants must have been age 15 or younger when the poem was written, and 18 or younger when submitted. See website for guidelines, privacy protections, and online submission form.
Reading Well, a project of The Reading Agency in the UK, recommends books to help you understand and manage your health and wellbeing. Their booklist for children features titles aimed at ages 7-11 on topics such as anxiety, mindfulness, emotional regulation, bereavement, bullying, and having a disability.
African-American children's stories are read aloud on this YouTube channel. Featured titles include the picture books Langston's Train Ride, about the poet Langston Hughes, and Martin & Mahalia: His Words, Her Song, about Martin Luther King Jr. and the singer Mahalia Jackson.
Scott Woods Makes Lists is a librarian's blog about African-Americans in popular culture, literature, and current events. This list and its 2016 precursor recommend children's picture books with black protagonists "that aren't about boycotts, buses or basketball". Woods says he wanted to showcase stories outside the familiar civil rights narrative, "featuring Black children doing what all children do: play, make up stories, learn life lessons, and dream."
This British website, geared to teachers and students of writing, offers a collection of materials on poetry and poets by contemporary UK authors such as Carol Ann Duffy, Gillian Clarke, and Simon Armitage. Features include interviews, critical essays, study guides, and an online forum. Material for children is well-represented, as are women poets.
Storyathon offers free competitions for students in grades 3-6 to write stories that are exactly 100 words. The challenges are designed to get young people excited about writing and teach them how to tighten their language, experiment with words, and focus their message. See website for new themes offered every semester.
Storyline Online features picture books being read aloud by well-known actors such as Kristen Bell, Ernest Borgnine, Viola Davis, James Earl Jones, and Kiernan Shipka.
This website collects links to academic and vocational programs, grants, and scholarships. Free registration allows you to receive listings targeted to your geographic area and field of study.
SuperSummary is an online compendium of plot summaries and study guides for notable contemporary and classic literary works. This page on their website features resources to begin your basic education in poetry writing and analysis. Links include tips for understanding a poem, glossaries of literary terms and poetic forms, and sites with kid-friendly poems.
This book review website is designed to raise awareness of the myriad of African-American voices writing for young readers. Their flagship initiative is 28 Days Later, a month-long showcase of the best in Picture Books, Middle Grade and Young Adult novels written and illustrated by African-Americans.
The Hub is a project of Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA), a division of the American Library Association. They review YA literature, including audio books and graphic novels.
This YouTube channel, curated by the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center at Smith College, features acclaimed contemporary poets reading and discussing poems that they wish they would have encountered as a teenager. The Poetry Center created this video series as an outreach project to spark high school students' interest in poetry.
Website features poems by teens and pre-teens. Good quality. Submit free. Also hosts regular poetry competitions. Winners receive books and other prizes.
Scott Evans a/k/a "Mr. E", an elementary school teacher in Wales, reviews and recommends children's books for parents and teachers on his site The Reader Teacher. His main focus is middle-grade fiction (ages 8-12).
This chart from education blog Janine's Music Room will be useful for writers who want to create accurate, well-rounded characters from a culture other than their own, as well as teachers with a diverse classroom population. Beyond surface differences like folklore, clothing, and holidays, consider cultural distinctives such as body language, manners, concepts of justice, family roles, notions of modesty, and sense of humor.
The School Reading List is a UK-based resource site that recommends books, magazines, and newspapers for children and young adults, sorted by grade level. For British students, there are also resources for taking school entrance exams.
The Sports Museum is a nonprofit educational institution housed in the TD Garden in Boston, which draws on the heritage and values of the New England sporting tradition to help build character in kids. Their programs include the annual Will McDonough Sports Writing Contest for youth in 4th-12th grades.
Based in Portland, Maine, the Telling Room is a nonprofit writing center for youth aged 6-18. Their programs seek to build confidence, strengthen literacy skills, and provide real audiences for their students. The website includes a list of magazines, contests, and conferences for young writers.
Launched in 2020, The Weight Journal is an online literary space for the best poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction by high school students. Editor Matthew Henry ("MEH") is a Pushcart Prize nominated poet and the author of Teaching While Black (Main Street Rag, 2020). Read an interview with him about The Weight Journal in Frontier Poetry.
By Tiffany Jewell. This social justice handbook for middle-grade and young adult readers offers tools for understanding your identity and social position, unlearning myths of American history, affirming yourself in a prejudiced world, and using your privileges to disrupt racism. Upbeat, energetic illustrations by Aurelia Durand create a mood of hope and momentum for dealing with tough truths. Jewell's background in Montessori education is reflected in her trusting and empowering young people to make mature moral choices.
Tint is an online literary journal for ESL (English as a second language) writers. They publish poetry, fiction, essays, flash prose, author profiles, and articles with writing advice.
TOON Books publishes high-quality comic books for children, designed to teach verbal and visual literacy in a more engaging format than traditional books for first readers. Editorial Director Françoise Mouly is the Art Editor of The New Yorker magazine. Notable contributors include Art Spiegelman, Hilary Knight (creator of Eloise), and Neil Gaiman.
The UCLA Children's Book Collection online archive offers free downloads of over 1,800 digital titles, from classics like Little Women and The Adventures of Tom Sawyer to lesser-known public domain works from the 19th century and earlier.
The website of the University of Arizona Poetry Center features reference materials such as a digitized collection of writers' portrait photos, a blog with articles and interviews about poetry and education, and a basic guide to the poetry publication process.
The website of children's book illustrator Wendy Wahman includes links to animated videos of her stories.
Launched in 2016, Wilgefortis Press publishes the Good News Children's Book Series, a line of religious picture books that feature and affirm children and families who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and genderqueer. The press is sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church in San Francisco. Debut titles by Megan Rohrer, pastor at Grace Lutheran and the first openly transgender pastor ordained in the Lutheran church, include Faithful Families (co-authored with Pamela Ryan and Ihnatovich Maryia), which teaches that God loves all types of families, and What to Wear to Church, celebrating diverse gender expressions. Read a profile of the press at Jesus in Love Blog.
With Words is a UK-based nonprofit that offers writing workshops and literary events for adults and youth, as well as an international haiku competition. Visit their website for basic advice on writing haiku poetry, with examples.
This lesson plan module from The New York Times suggests readings and writing prompts to help students reflect on how war is portrayed in literature and in veterans' first-person accounts.