Where can poetry take our students?
In a word: everywhere. Poetry takes students to college. To the White House and the stage of the renowned Kennedy Center. And deep into their own imaginations where it builds critical thinking skills, bolsters academic achievement and creates connections.
InsideOut Literary Arts, the Detroit-based nonprofit I head, has been teaching poetry in Detroit-area schools for nearly 25 years, and we’ve seen how poetry can bridge the gap between the shy kid and the charismatic performer, the school hater and the engaged student, the passive bystander and the active citizen. We have seen firsthand what it can accomplish. In our recent teacher surveys, 94 percent said our programming improved students’ writing and critical thinking skills. Additionally, 80 percent of our students demonstrated improved reading comprehension after our program and 83 percent say they applied what they learned about writing in other classes.