top of page
Read Sample Text


“I promise that you are about to experience joy reading this book. I am positive that sharing the poems, how-to’s, and inner workings of all these poets’ hearts and minds with your students will magically, even miraculously, improve their poetry and prose.”

—Katherine Bomer


"Like the perfect poem, each writing technique in Poems Are Teachers is elaborated upon with just the right amount of words: part inspiration, part author advice, part adult poet, part children s poems, part lesson language. This is a book you ll return to again and again as you work on your own writing, and support the student writers in your classroom." 

—Jennifer Serravallo

"If I’d had this book when I was teaching full-time, there would have been far more poetry in my students' lives.  Amy has accomplished a most amazing feat:  using poetry to teach writing so it is beautiful, purposeful, and doable. I love her use of mentor texts--both the published versions and the student pieces that result from reading like a writer.  Her ideas to inspire student writing are timely and creative.   Bottom line:  This is a book for experienced and inexperienced teachers of writing.  Pick it up and turn to any chapter and page for inspiration and ready-to-go teaching ideas that draw upon the majesty of language used well."

—Ruth Culham



How Studying Poetry Strengthens Writing in All Genres


ISBN-13: 978-0-325-09653-7

ISBN-10: 0-325-09653-8


264 pages


Grade Level: K - 6th


“Poems wake us up, keep us company, and remind us that our world is big and small,” Amy Ludwig VanDerwater explains in Poems Are Teachers. “And too, poems teach us how to write.  Anything.” 


This is a practical book designed for every classroom teacher.  Each lesson exploration includes three poems, one by a contemporary adult poet and two by students in grades 2 through 8, which serve as models to illustrate how poetry teaches writers to:


• find ideas 
• choose perspective and point of view
• structure texts
• play with language
• craft beginnings and endings
• choose titles.


Students will learn how to replicate the craft techniques found in poetry to strengthen all writing, from fiction to opinion, from personal narrative to information.  “Poets arrange words and phrases just as prose writers do, simply in tighter spaces,” Amy argues. “In the tight space of poetry, readers can identify writing techniques after reading one page, not thirty pages.”​

Screen Shot 2020-06-02 at 9.42.47 PM.png
bottom of page