Education happens every day at the Poetry Center through a variety of programs, experience, and conversations.
Young people have a natural capacity for language and a tremendous amount to say about their lives. The Poetry Center helps children and youth express themselves, acquire literacy skills, and develop their potential through our K-12 education programs and teacher/parent resources described below.
One Saturday a month, we turn the Poetry Center over to the kids! Family Day starts at 10:00 a.m. with a set of hour-long creative writing workshops. We offer four age-appropriate workshops simultaneously, serving ages 0 through 13. After the workshops, we offer a breakfast concert featuring healthy food, coffee, and live local music that can be enjoyed by kids and adults alike. Drop-in writing activities, games, and typewriters are scattered throughout the library and available for use until 1:00 p.m. Family Day is free and open to the public and you can check our calendar for Family Day events. More info
Our K-12 field trip curricula are designed to enrich the work you're already doing in your classroom and meet ELA Common Core Arizona State Standards. More info
Invigorate the study of poetry and literature in your classroom through a matinee performance at your school by a Poetry Center visiting writer. Since 1962, the Poetry Center has hosted a visiting writing reading series. More than 1000 writers, including most major contemporary U.S. poets, have traveled to Tucson to read at the Poetry Center. We arrange for some of these visiting writers provide readings to groups of K-12 students. Check our calendar for scheduled matinee performances. More info
Every fall and spring, the Poetry Center places teams of writers in residency select local classrooms to lead creative writing workshops for six to eight weeks. Schools can select residency programs in the genres of poetry, fiction, and creative nonfiction, to take place either during class time or out-of-school time. The writing team helps your students create and publish a class anthology of student writing or other cumulative project, which is shared at the end of the writing. At the end of the residency, students share their original work in a celebratory reading. A creative writing residency is a great way to enrich literary education in your classroom. More info
Poetry Out Loud
Poetry Out Loud is a national high-school contest that encourages youth to learn about great poetry through memorization and recitation. Poetry Out Loud helps students master public speaking skills, build self-confidence, and learn about their literary heritage. Prizes in the form of cash and school stipends are awarded at the state and national level. The National Endowment for the Arts and The Poetry Foundation partner with state arts agencies to bring the Poetry Out Loud program to all 50 states and the US territories. The Poetry Center works with the Arizona Commission on the Arts to administer Poetry Out Loud in the state of Arizona. Check our calendar for Poetry Out Loud events. More info
Lit Press Fest for Teens
The Poetry Center supports teen engagement with reading, reading, and self-expression through our Lit Press Fest for Teens. This event is for Tucson-area students, teachers, and guardians who are interested in or already editing a youth literary magazine through a school or other community organization. Lit Press Fest offers workshops in creative writing and bookmaking, rare book room tours, a gallery of high-school and middle-school literary journals, free food, and more! Check our calendar for Lit Press Fest Events. More info
The Poetry Center maintains an online database of literature and creative writing lesson plans for learners of all ages. View the online curriculum here.
Corrido Teaching Resources
From 2000 to 2015, the Poetry Center ran the High-School Bilingual Corrido Contest, a state-wide competition in which Arizona high school students wrote original corridos for a chance to win cash prizes. The contest supported creative writing and promoted awareness of the corrido, a musical ballad form developed in Mexico in the 1800s and originally sung throughout the country. Although still popular in Mexico, over time the corrido has become known as música de la frontera (border music) because of its popularity along both sides of the U.S.–Mexico border. The Poetry Center no longer administers this contest, but continues to offer resources on teaching the corrido to high-school students, and an archive of 15 years of award-winning corridos written by Arizona high school students. More info