Poetry Challenge Week Four: Blackout Poems

 It’s week FOUR of the Weekly Poetry Challenge, and this week is all about blackout poems! A blackout poem is created by taking a block of text—like from a newspaper, magazine, or book—and “blacking out” everything except the words you want. Here’s a blackout poem I wrote: Created using the book MAKE BLACKOUT POETRY by John Carroll Read some black out poems! Here are some blackout poems by author Austin Kleon . Examples of student-created blackout poems . Check out this Pinterest board for more examples. Write a black out poem! When creating your blackout poem, you may to start with a pencil and circle or block around the words you want to keep for your poem. Then, once you’re happy with your poem use a sharpie to black out everything you don’t want. Blackout poetry is a great visual, but you can also type out your poem when you’re done to make it easier to read. Need a little help? Here’s a video by Austin Kleon on how he makes blackout poetry. If you or your kids write blackout poem

Ten Books for National Poetry Month (plus a weekly poetry challenge)

April is a mere five days away, and that means it’s almost National Poetry Month! To help you get a kick start to celebrating poetry throughout April, we’ve put together an assortment of book recommendations. You’ll find a little bit of everything in this list of ten books: poetry collections, picture book stories told in poems, biographies of poets, even a novel in verse!

We hope this list is just the beginning of a month of reading, discussing and doing (that is, writing) poetry! We have a month long celebration planned in which we challenge our readers and the children in their lives to read, discuss, and write four different types of poems—one challenge per week. You can join the weekly poetry fun by subscribing to our newsletter, visiting the website regularly for updates, following us on Instagram (@readdiscussdo), or all of the above!

To read: Choose a book from this list or any poetry book.

To discuss:

  • Do you usually like poetry? Why or why not?

  • Can you think of a poem you like a lot?

  • Do you prefer poems that rhyme or that don’t rhyme?

  • Have you ever written a poem of your own?

To do:

  • Choose a short poem to memorize together.

  • Write a poem patterned after one that you read.

  • Choose a poem you enjoyed, and look up facts about the poet.

  • Take part in the weekly Read, Discuss, Do poetry challenges throughout April.

And now for the list!

Since the Baby Came – A Siblings Learning-to-Love Story in 16 Poems written by Kathleen Long Bostrom and illustrated by Janet Samuel 

When a new baby arrives, emotions abound. This unique picture book shows the feelings that older siblings experience. The unique hook is that each poem is written in a different poetic form. It is a poetry masterpiece! The back matter explains each type of poem that has been used on the various page spreads.

Hi, Koo! A year of Seasons by Jon J. Muth

This is a book of twenty-six haiku about the four seasons featuring the thoughts of a panda bear named Koo.

A Snowflake Fell: Poems about Winter compiled by Laura Whipple, illustrated by Hatsuki Hori

A really lovely collection of winter themed poetry in various forms.

Spinster Goose: Twisted Rhymes for Naughty Children by Lisa Wheeler, illustrated by Sophie Blackall

Children will get a kick out of these “twisted rhymes” inspired by the classic Mother Goose nursery rhymes. 

Gone Fishing: A Novel in Verse by Tamera Will Wissinger, illustrated by Matthew Cordell

This is a novel for young readers told in various forms of poetry. The story of a young boy coming to terms with his sister joining him and his dad on their special fishing trip is charming, relatable, and fun! The book includes a “Poet’s Tacklebox” to help young readers learn about different poetic devices, techniques, and forms.

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming by Chris Harriss, illustrated by Lane Smith

This delightful book of poetry has something to amuse every kid or kid at heart, whether they think they like poetry or not.

Monster & Dragon Write Poems by Shannon Anderson, illustrated by Sharon Vargo

Monster and Dragon both write different types of poems for a poetry contest. Will they win? The back matter explains how to write many different types of poems.

Poetry for Young People: Edward Lear, edited by Edward Mendelson, illustrated by Laura Huliska-Beith

Part of the Poetry for Young People series, this is a collection of nonsense rhymes by Edward Lear that are delightful to read aloud, accompanied by playful illustrations that pair perfectly with each poem. Includes a short biography of the poet and a glossary of unfamiliar or outdated terms with each poem. 

A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Alice and Martin Provenson

A collection of magical poems that will appeal to the sense of wonder of any imaginative child.

Ted Kooser: More than a Local Wonder by Carla Ketner, illustrated by Paula Wallace

This is a picture book biography about Ted Kooser, former poet laureate of the United States. The book is a lyrical look at the poet’s life and writing, and includes samples of his poetry at the end.

For more poetry book recommendations and resources, check out some of our past poetry month posts:

The Weekly Poetry Challenge begins April 1. Don't miss it!