Jessica Jones Shares her Frameworks for Reading Native American Literature

Enjoy this video which guides viewers through a chronological exploration of important moments in Native American Literature from 1492- the present. Please feel free to post this link on your own website if you wish, or to add it to your list of resources for educators.  You can also listen to or watch the interview with Jessica Jones on the Writers on Writing Podcast with host Anthony L. Manna on Podbean or your favorite Podcast channel. 

Jessica Jones has been teaching Art and English in K-12 and college settings for over 15 years. Her poetry and essays have appeared in Journal of the Assembly for Expanded Perspectives on Learning (2014), the Ohio Journal of Language Arts (2014), Poems Across the Big Sky II: An Anthology of Montana Poets (Many Voices Press, 2016), Bright Bones (Open Country Press, 2018) and NCTE’s English Journal (2018). She also presents at regional and national conferences and has served as Writer in Residence for Calcutta Mercy Hospital in India, and with the Cuyahoga Valley National Park in Ohio. She is currently full-time faculty at Kent State University at Stark, where she teaches poetry, creative writing, and composition courses that focus on diversity and social justice. She can be reached at her website.

Wake Up to Poetry

Wake Up to Poetry

Funny, hilarious, wild, upbeat, zany, bizarre, weird, peculiar poems for kids and tweens to read and share aloud, perform, revisit, memorize, move to, and, best of all, ENJOY!

Why is Poetry Essential for Skill Building

Listen up! Kids and tweens listen to poems read aloud and foster their listening skills by becoming alert to words they hear and their meaning.

Words, words, words! When they read and listen to rhyming words, they learn to attend to the sounds of letters by discovering how words rhyme. Poetry supports their understanding of the sounds of words and the pronunciation of words.

Language Works! Poems introduce kids and tweens—and anyone else—to parts of speech and language conventions such as spacing, margins, and punctuation. ELL kids can build awareness of these conventions.

New words, words, words! Poems introduce new words or demonstrate the use of familiar words in new ways—in new contexts. In particular, ELL learners can add to their emerging vocabulary treasury. Synonyms, antonyms, word play, invented words—these, too, can be introduced by exploring the language of poems.

Let’s write! Different poems=different structures, forms, and formats. When young readers explore simple poetry forms, pointing out and discussing the components of these forms, they can begin experimenting with writing their own poems. Helpful books for introducing writer-friendly poetry forms and techniques: Leap Into Poetry: More ABCs of Poetry, Fly With Poetry: An ABCs of Poetry, by Avis Harley; A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms, edited by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Chris Raschka, and Poetry From A to Z: A Guide for Young Writers, by Paul B. Janeczko, illustrated by Cathy Bobak.

Imagine this! Poets express themselves with unique images that stimulate young readers’ and writers’ imagination. Imagination awakens interest, fascination, attention, passion, and curiosity—mental states that empower young readers to lead rich lives.

Social Emotional Learning! Poetry invites kids and tweens—and all other readers—to experience deep feelings and deeply felt moments. Poets explore both supportive and harmful relationships, empathy for others, and responsible and caring decisions as well as actions that cause personal pain such as bullying. A poem may put feelings and thoughts into words that children may not know how to express otherwise.

Human diversity! Many poets write about issues and concerns related to social justice through their descriptions of people deeply affected by bias, discrimination, and other forms of destructive social habits. They make young readers aware of racism and other forms of bigotry and illustrate solutions that can transform hatred to kindness and acceptance.

Poetry for content learning. Poems can help to foster content learning throughout the curriculum. Math and science concepts, historical topics and themes, national and international settings and cultural habits and values are found in many good poems for young readers and writers.

Refreshing Poetry Books

And now, let’s cheer for amusing, wacky, entertaining poems that are both appealing and fun to read! Encourage kids and tweens to move with the rhythms—and stories—they hear. Motivate them to add actions and other dramatic elements.

(By the way, for two great books with inspiring plans for acting out poems and many more suggestions for making poems come alive, try The Poetry Friday Anthology: Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core (Pomelo Books, 2012) and The Poetry Friday Anthology for Middle School: Poems for the School Year with Connections to the Common Core (Pomelo Books, 2013)— both compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong.)

A Hatful of Dragons and More Than 13.8 Billion Other Funny Poems, by Vikram Madan. ISBN 978-1-68437-150-1. “In this funny book, Vikram Madan’s ingenious poems take many forms, from limerick to rebus to a fill-in-the-blank poem that offers more than 13.8 billion funny combinations. All feature clever wordplay, impeccable rhythm and rhyme, and riotous punchlines. This is a quirky collection of poems that readers will laugh their way through again and again.”

The Bubble Collector: Poems and Drawings by Vikram Madan. ISBN 9781482397611. “By combining playful, rhyming language with exuberant, cartoon-like drawings, tongue-in-cheek humor, and surprise twist-endings, Vikram Madan has created a fun and funny collection that is as clever as it is varied, and certain to delight readers of all ages over and over again.”

Lord of the Bubbles: And Other Funny Poems, by Vikram Madan. ISBN 978-1986885355. “Whether you’re making monsters in your backyard, shopping for doomsday machines, struggling with your boring homework, or just trying to go to sleep, the outlandish and everyday situations in this romp of a collection will have you in splits.”

No More Poems!: A Book in Verse That Just Gets Worse, by Rhett Miller, illustrated by Dan Santat. ISBN 978-0316416528. “In the tradition of Shel Silverstein, these poems bring a fresh new twist to the classic dilemmas of childhood as well as a perceptive eye to the foibles of modern family life. Full of clever wordplay and bright visual gags–and toilet humor to spare–these twenty-three rhyming poems make for an ideal read-aloud experience.”

I’m Just No Good at Rhyming: And Other Nonsense for Mischievous Kids and Immature Grown-Ups, by Chris Harris, illustrated by Lane Smith. ISBN 978-0316427104.  “Harris’s hilarious debut molds wit and wordplay, nonsense and oxymoron, and visual and verbal sleight-of-hand in masterful ways that make you look at the world in a whole new wonderfully upside-down way.”

It’s Raining Pigs & Noodles, by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by James Stevenson. ISBN 978-0060291945. “The master of mischievous rhyme, Jack Prelutsky, and his partner in crime, James Stevenson, have whipped up a storm of more than one hundred hilarious poems and zany drawings. Grab your umbrella—and make sure it’s a big one!”

A Pizza the Size of the Sun, by Jack Prelutsky, illustrated by James Stevenson. ISBN 978-0688132354. “Discover and enjoy a dozen duhduhs, a puzzled python, and the coolest teenage hippopotamus you’ll ever meet. Meet Miss Misinformation, Swami Gourami, and Gladiola Gloppe (and her Soup Shoppe), and delight in a backwards poem, a poem that ever ends, and scores of others.”

Boom! Bellow! Bleat!: Animal Poems for Two or More Voices, by Georgia Heard, illustrated by Aaron DeWitt. ISBN 978-1620915202. “These poems for two or more voices explore the myriad sounds animals make–from a frog’s jug-o-rum to a fish’s boom! to an elephant’s bark. Laced with humor, the poems are a delight to read aloud and cover all major classes of animals: mammals, birds, fish, reptiles, amphibians, insects, even a crustacean!”

Messing Around on the Monkey Bars: and Other School Poems for Two Voices, by Betsy Franco, illustrated by Jessie Hartland. ISBN 978-0763631741. “Throughout this collection of nineteen poems — ideal for reading aloud in pairs, but just as much fun with one or many — words, pictures, and voices erupt in an irresistible invitation to join an exhilarating ride around school. So hop on the bus! The pencils are tapping, the clock is ticking, and reports are due…tomorrow?”

HOP TO IT: Poems to Get You Moving, compiled by Sylvia Vardell and Janet Wong. ISBN 978-1937057299. “This is an anthology of 100 new poems by 90 poets—with STEM and social studies connections, thematic mini-lessons, read aloud tips, and extensive back matter featuring useful activities to help maximize student learning and social-emotional development. You can share a new poem or two each week of the school year and get kids thinking and moving as they read aloud their favorite poems using pantomime, sign language, and whole body movements—including deskercise! You’ll also find poems on current topics, such as life during a pandemic, wearing masks, virtual learning, staying connected with friends, and standing up for what you believe in.”

“In a Book” Supports Choral Reading Activities

“In a Book” Supports Choral Reading Activities

“In a Book” written by Anthony L. Manna

Choral Reading with a Poem


In a Book … You Can

Live royally in the ancient past —-a king, a queen

Move to a galaxy far away and in between

Join a protest —-shout cheers of human rights

Convert a bully —-away with painful strife

Swim through the depths of a restless sea

Climb to the top of a rainforest tree
(Oh, what a landscape you’ll see)

Fly off on a dragon, a shape-shifting wonder

Survive a harsh battle, lament the plunder

Build a skyscraper, touch a cloud

Win medals of gold before a cheering crowd

Learn about folks hurtful to souls from afar have come

Meet kind folks who welcome others to their home

Enjoy a weird mystery, let’s fathom the deep-buried clues

Hear the crowds cheer the heroes, drown out the thunderous boos

Open a book, awaiting you there long-lasting treasures

Read a book, savor the savory pleasures

Share a book, a precious gift you’ll give

A wondrous guide, oh, yes, a compass for how to live.

—Professor Granpa Tonio

Choral Reading

Encourage readers to make this poem come alive with Choral Reading.

“Choral reading is a literacy technique that helps students build their fluency, self-confidence, and motivation in reading. During choral reading, a student, or a group of students reads a passage together, with or without a teacher. Choral reading can be done individually, in small groups, or as a whole class.”

Thank you “Strategies for Students” for this description of Choral Reading and for suggestions and plans provided at your lively website for ways to use Choral Reading with kids and teens.

Poetry for Teens

Poetry for Teens

Let’s explore poetry for teens. First, we’ll read some poetry for teens and then we’ll use the poems as models for writing a Memory Poem.

Let’s get going with poetry for teens in a fabulous book named Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else. Edited by Elise Paschen. Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, 2010.

You’re gonna love poetry for teens in Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else, just like other teens have… because…

  • there are more than 100 fabulous poems chosen to interest you and your friends
  • an audio CD comes with the book: 44 of the poems read by 35 poets; most read by the poets themselves
  • there’s a section called “Please Write in This Book”~ You got it: It’s an invitation to write your own poems. YAY!
  • there are popular old poems like “Alone” by Edgar Allen Poe —“From childhood’s hour I have not been/As others were…—; “The Road Not Taken” by Robert Frost—“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—/I took the one less traveled by,/And that made all the difference.”—; “Hope is the Thing With Feathers” by Emily Dickinson—“Hope is the thing with feathers/That perches in the soul….”—; and “Sonnet 130” by William Shakespeare—“My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun….”
  • there are many new(er) poems: “The Germ” by Ogden Nash—“A mighty creature is the germ,/Though smaller than a pachyderm…. —; “Still I Rise” by Maya Angelou—“You may write me down in history/With your bitter, twisted lies,/You may trod me in the very dirt/But still, like dust, I’ll rise…”—; “Vampire’s Serenade” by Dana Gioia—“I am the dream you cannot forget,/The face you remember without having met…”—; and “Sedna” by Kimiko Hahn—“Come to find out, Sedna,/is the Inuit woman,/whose father cast her from their kayak,/thus transforming her into the spirit of the sea.
  • there are upbeat, happy, even comical poems like “A Teenage Couple” by Brad Leithauser—“He said, or she said/(Desperate to have their say),/You know, we may not last forever….”— and “The Bagel” by David Ignatow—“Faster and faster it rolled,/with me running after it/bent low, gritting my teeth.
  • sad poems  like “Sometimes With One I Love” by Walt Whitman—“Sometimes with one I love I fill myself with rage for/ fear I effuse unreturned love….”—; and “Mediation” by Kim Stafford—“At the dinner table, before the thrown/plate, but after the bitter claim,/is the one beat of silence/before the parents declare war.
  • poems about relationships like “The Talk” by Sharon Olds—“In the dark square wooden room at noon/the mother had a talk with her daughter./The rudeness could not go on….”—; and “If I Can Stop One Heart from Breaking” by Emily Dickinson—If I can stop one heart from breaking,/I shall not live in vain.
  • poems celebrating the self and others like “I Am a Black” by Gwendolyn Brooks—“I am other than Hyphenation./I say, proudly, MY PEOPLE!/I say, proudly, OUR PEOPLE!….”—; “From For a Girl Becoming” by Joy Harjo—“Bury what needs to be buried./Laugh easily at yourself./…May you grow in knowledge, in compassion, in beauty….”—; and “The Delight Song of Tsoai-Talee” by N. Scott Momaday—“You see, I am alive, I am alive/I stand in good relation to the earth/I stand in good relation to the gods/I stand in good relation to all that is beautiful.

And so it goes. One delicious discovery after the other.

Had enough? NO?

Stay tuned: The next time we meet::: poems by teens themselves in You Hear Me?: Poems and Writing by Teenage Boys and Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, both edited by Besty Franco.

In the meantime: Write a Poem: A Memory Poem. 📝

First, go to:

6 Tips for Writing a Poem About Memories

And then take a look at some good examples of memory poems:

Memory Poems | Poetry About Memories 

Ready to write? Think friends, family, first love, pets, teachers…

Go ahead, get that poem down. Put your poem and/or your notes about the poem in your writer’s notebook. HUH? Writer’s WHAT? Right here, on this website, you’ll find my blog about WRITING TOOLS “Tween and Teen Writing Tips.” That’s where you’ll find a description of the writer’s notebook. Go there now. Be happy.

Happy Reading! Happy Writing! And away we go…

Your Bio

Teenage Poems

Teenage Poems

Let’s explore teenage poems. Teenage poems are poems written by teens. First, you’ll read some teenage poems and then you’ll find directions for writing a fun type of poem called a cinquain (sin-kane).

Let’s get going with teenage poems in two fabulous poetry books.

The first book is You Hear Me? Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys, Edited by Betsy Franco, Photographs by Nina Nickles. Candlewick, 2001.

The second book is Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls, Edited by Betsy Franco, Photographs by Nina Nickles. Candlewick, 2001.

Wow and Wow. In these two books, teens from diverse cultures and backgrounds write from the heart in free verse poems and brief stories. Raw emotions bring us deep inside a lot of topics and issues including identity, relationships, drugs, AIDS, family, rejection, loss, and survival.

Listen to these guys from You Hear Me? Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys:

Joshua White, age 12, in “Dark Cellar”—“I like to hide in my dark damp cellar/Where rats scurry across the cold cement floor…./All I know is that anger and sorrow/Evaporate into clouds of air…/When I’m there….”

James Balzer, age 14, in “I Am”—“I am the ungodly thing/Preached against in church—/ Preached against in politics./I am loathed,/I am shunned,/I am feared,/I am gay.”

Shysuaune T. Taylor, age 19, in “Black Boy Blues”—“Baby black boy eyes watch/dream smoke rise/from glass/pipes…/burning away bills, food, hungry baby mouths.”

Seth Chappell, age 14, in”Does My Mother Look Like This?”—“Does my mother look like/a person who would/leave four sons and a daughter/and go to another place?”

Troy Williams, age 16, in “I Want”—“To know/If there’s a ghetto/In heaven.”

Juan C. Medina Arias, age 18, in “Love Between Two Cultures”—“Between two cultures you find peace and friendship,/and when you fall in love/it doesn’t matter of what blood, just the blood/that is in your heart.”

Emmanuel E. Carter, age 14, in “Mail”—“Tomorrow I’m going to/seal up my heart/and send it to/my one true love./When she receives it,/I hope she will sign it/and send me hers.”

Stephan Johnson, age 17, in “Song For My Father”—“At night I say “I love you” and hear no response./The song of his silence is thrown down from pulsating stars/telling me to go on.”


And now girls tell us about themselves in Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls.

In these poems, you’ll meet teenage girls from diverse cultures and backgrounds with so much to say about love, rejection, grief, fear, vulnerability, pride, and happiness.

Listen to these girls in Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls:

Danya Goodman, age 15, in “Hallway Between Lunch and English (Freud Can Kiss My Sexually Ambiguous Arse)”—“…we are all armed/with our polysyllabic sabers/uninformed by our lust/united by our laughter/unique by our will/we march together toward/the war we cannot name/but at least we are dressed for it.”

Becky Mann, age 17, in “Contemplating fat and thin”—“Contemplating fat and thin/as I lift my foot upon the scale/my heart skips a beat/to see the tortuous needle/point to the number I don’t want to see/No food, you’re fat….”

Miriam Stone, age 16, in “Damn, I Look Good”—“…This coquette can get/Any man she’s set eyes upon—-/A female Don Juan./The best, I confess,/Cannot help but obsess/Over me,/Devil walking/In one hell of a dress.”

Marion Liu, age 17, in “A Man’s Strength, But a Woman’s Mind”—“I am not a superhero who changes gender by touching water, nor do I punch out bad guys on a daily basis. But like Ranma, in this Japanese anime, I break the stereotype of a girl as a dainty little thing who needs a man by her side in order to do anything. Like Ranma, I try to be the best girl that I can be.”

Lindsay Henry, age 17, in “Apricot Bath”—“…But if you must love me/Love the little smooth scar on my knee/not my eyes/Love my round belly/not my legs/Love the two freckles on my neck/that looks like a vampire’s kiss/not my lips/Love my square, pudgy toes/not my smile….”

Mahogany Elaj Foster, age 16, in “Words”—“Words fly across the paper like blackbird across the sky/and I think to myself why oh/why oh why/why why,/Why would anyone use words like/I hate and/I can’t and/I quit, therefore, I won’t….”

Laura Veuve, age 15, in “I know I am strong,”—“I know I am strong/both in my convictions and in myself./I know I am beautiful/both inside and out./I know I am powerful/and growing more so./I know I will do just fine.”

Go to your library–public or school–and find a copy of Things I Have to Tell You: Poems and Writing by Teenage Girls and You Hear Me? Poems and Writings by Teenage Boys. Professor Granpa Tonio found both books at his public library. YAY!

Hey ho: Now it’s time for you to become a teenage poet.


To write a cinquain, follow these easy directions:

  • Line 1  A one-word title (a noun that tells what your poem is about
  • Line 2  Two adjectives that describe what your poem is about
  • Line 3  Three —ing participles that describe what your poem is about
  • Line 4  A phrase that tells more about what you’re writing about
  • Line 5  A synonym for your title, another noun that tells what your poem is about

 WHEW! Sounds hard, right? Wrong. Make it easy:

  • Write about something or someone you like
  • Write about something you don’t like
  • Write about something you see around you.
  • Write about something that happened to you

(Thank you for the suggestions: Ken Nesbitt’s Poetry 4 Kids)

Examples of cinquain will help you get motivated. Visit this website for good examples:

Cinquain Poems | Examples of Cinquain Poetry

Ready to write? Think friends, family, first love, pets, dreaming, losing, gaining, fear, success, teachers…

Go ahead, get that poem down. Put your poem and/or your notes about the poem in your writer’s notebook. HUH? Writer’s WHAT? Right here, on this website, you’ll find my blog about WRITING TOOLS. That’s where you’ll find a description of the writer’s notebook. Go there now. Be happy.

Happy Writing!
And away we go…