Blogger Paige Bentley-Flannery

Tween Poetry Writing Camp

Poetry Books photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

Today is the first day of National Poetry Month! Whether you’ve been sharing poems all year at story time, interactive poetry at schools or introducing new poetry books  to library customers, April is the perfect month to try something new!

In January, I had a wonderful opportunity to observe a Tween Writing Camp, a new library program created by April Witteveen, Community Librarian at the Downtown Bend Branch at Deschutes Public Library.   The camp was one of the best Tween programs I’ve seen all year.   It was extremely well organized, filled with enthusiasm and so many creative stories.  Tweens were excited about writing – sharing their stories after each writing activity, working together on stories and talking about favorite books.   I knew right away I wanted to try a Tween Poetry Writing Camp at the Sisters Branch in April for National Poetry Month.  April shared her camp structure and I added a selection of musical sounds, art, photographs and HUGE pieces of paper.

We will focus on concrete, reverso, couplet, ode, list, free verse and tanka poems.  I will include writing about a person, a strange object, sound poems and more.

Top 6 Tween Writing Poetry Camp Books:
Big Foot is Missing! by J. Patrick Lewis and Kenn Nesbitt. Illustrated by Minalima
Bravo! Poems About Amazing Hispanics by Margarita Engle. Illustrated by Rafael Lopez.
Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – Young People’s Poet Laureate.
Out of Wonder: Poems Celebrating Poets by Kwame Alexander with Chris Colderley and Marjory Wentworth. Illustrated by Ekua Holmes
The Playbook 52 Rules to Aim, Shoot, and Score in This Game Called Life by Kwame Alexander
You Just Wait: A Poetry Friday Power Book by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.

One activity example: One minute Polaroid poems – Take two polaroid pictures of the same object – two different views – above, side or an unusual angle.  Write two one minute list poems, one poem at a time, below each polaroid.

Tambourine List Poem #1 photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery
Tambourine List Poem #2 photo by Paige Bentley-Flannery

On a separate sheet of paper, write one more list poem -selecting any of the same words from both poems and adding them together.  Did you have at least two of the same words in each poem?  How many times did you use each word?  Five?  Two? None?

My first Tween Poetry Camp is Tuesday, April 11th.  Will the poems be loud?  Filled with movement?  Fun shapes?  I will share my prezi, poetry list and fun poems next month.   Happy National Poetry Month!

What poetry programs do you offer at your library during the month of April?  Please share in the comments below.

Paige Bentley-Flannery is a Community Librarian at Deschutes Public Library. For over fifteen years–from Seattle Art Museum to the New York Public Library to the Deschutes Public Library-Paige’s passion and creative style for art, poetry and literature have been combined with instructing, planning, and providing information. Paige is a former member and Chair of the ALSC Notable Children’s Books Committee, 2015 – 2017, Chair of the ALSC Digital Content Task Force and member of the ALSC Great Websites Committee.


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