3 Ways to Bring Poetry and Music to Your Library for National Poetry Month

April 21, 2017


By Shannon McClintock Miller

Blake has the blues. Oh, Blake has the blues. The blubbering blues have him howling his tune.

As we celebrate National Poetry Month, the largest literary celebration in the world, lyrics like this filled with rhythm, rhyme, and repetition sing through the walls, bringing libraries and classrooms to life. In the article, Motivating Students Through Music and Literature, J.H. Towell states four benefits of motivating students through music and poetry including:

  • Music exposes children to rhyme, rhythm, and repetition, which are the some of the same skills needed to learn to read.
  • Because poetry has cadence, rhythm, and rhyme, music may be used to complement it.
  • Music may benefit children with learning difficulties.
  • The language of music is understood by all cultures. All cultures use music to communicate, and the sounds and rhythms of music cross cultural boundaries.

Poetry and stories combined with music are the perfect fit in developing these essential skills.

In fact, here are three ways to bring music and poetry to your library for National Poetry Month and all year long too.  

1. You can bring in different types of poems to the library through songs and stories to teach important curriculum topics. There are lots of books and other resources that can be used. One example from Cantata Learning is the Animal World: Songs About Animals Adaptations set. These are amazing animal haikus, which will take your students on an adventure to the wonderful world of animals through engaging poetry, beautiful illustrations, and playful tunes.

You can even have the students create their very own poems and songs about important topics too! In this post, 7 Ways To Teach Animal Adaptations With Books, Research, Songs, Art and Technologyyou will find even more wonderful ideas for using this series along with Capstone’s PebbleGo Animals!  

2. You can bring music and poetry to your library Makerspace through the rhythm and rhyme in My First Science Songs: STEM set with books like Technology Is All Around You! A Song For Budding ScientistsStudents will learn as they sing along that technology is anything that solves a problem.

As they are listening, singing, and learning with Cantata Learning, have them express themselves through the poetry.  They can paint, dance, draw, and build. You can set up a station where the students can make musical instruments to use in Poetry Month celebrations. Your students could even take newspapers and magazines, cutting out words that express their feelings as they listen and sing along while creating murals.  

The sky is the limit on what they create!  Here is a post and instructions on how to create musical instruments out of recycled materials with your students and use them with Cantata Learning.

3. On April 27, we celebrate Poem In Your Pocket DayOn this day, celebrate poetry by putting a poem in your pocket to share with others throughout the day. As we get ready for our annual Poem In Your Pocket Day celebration with an amazing group including authors, musicians and teacher librarians around the country, I am drawn to so many of the Cantata Learning books and songs. You can read all about our LIVE Poem In Your Pocket Day event here.  

As my sister and teacher librarian Heather Fox helped her 2nd and 3rd graders look for their poems at Amana Elementary School, she put a little twist on it this year by having them pick a line or two in one of the many Cantata Learning books they have in the library. Heather told me:

There is nothing like the Cantata Learning books!  Not only can I tie all of them into Poetry Month with the stories, my kids can also sing along while learning so much. I am going to play the music so they can sing with it during our fun Poem In Your Pocket event. It will be one we won’t forget as everyone  joins in with the rhyming and rhythm as we sing and dance along too!

As you are looking at poems for this day, look and listen for the perfect Cantata Learning stories and songs for the pockets in your library too. And don’t forget to join us for the LIVE Poem In Your Pocket Day event… I will be sharing the link for this event soon.

Blake has the blues. Oh, Blake has the blues. The blubbering blues have him howling his tune.

Remember… all of the Cantata Learning stories and songs are poems  just like Blake Has The Blues, which make them perfect in developing language and fluency for readers during National Poetry Month and any day of the year.  

And they are always so much fun!  



Hoena, Blake. (2016).  Blake Has The Blues. Cantata Learning.

Hoena, Blake. (2016). My First Science Songs: STEM Set with books like Technology Is All Around You! A Song For Budding Scientists.  Cantata Learning.  

Jimenez, Vita. (2017). Animal World: Songs About Animals Adaptations Set. Cantata Learning.

Towell, J.H. (1999). Motivating students through music and literature. The Reading Teacher, 53(4), 284–287.