National Collegiate Honors Council


Date of this Version

Fall 2001


Published in Journal of the National Collegiate Honors Council 2:2, Fall/Winter 2001. Copyright © 2001 by the National Collegiate Honors Council.


For the past few years, I have taught an honors course here at Southwest Texas State University called “Teaching Poetry to Children” that trains ten honors students to teach poetry writing workshops at Crockett Elementary School in San Marcos, Texas twice a week for eight weeks. After a few weeks of immersion in Kenneth Koch’s books Rose, Where Did You Get that Red? Teaching Great Poetry to Children and Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Young Children to Write Poetry and equipped with favorite poems from several different cultural traditions (American, British, Spanish, Chinese, and African among them), our ten students enter the public domain of a nearby elementary school ready and eager to bring the creative art of poetry to young people who might otherwise never get such exposure. The stint ends with a Young People’s Poetry Reading (organized by our students) for the whole community at the San Marcos Public Library in celebration of National Poetry Month. Designed specifically for our students, this course fulfills two important honors program needs: it meets the desire many of our students have to delve into the creative arts of reading and writing poetry, and it provides them with a way (through these same arts) to render a meaningful service to the wider community.