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Debbie Ridpath Ohi reads, writes and illustrates for young people. Every few weeks, she shares new art, writing and resources; subscribe below. Browse the archives here.

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POETRY FOR YOUNG READERS - by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

(Last updated March 21, 2018) - Scroll down to end of page to see resource list

  (Click above for printready PDF poster, also see my Free Printready Archives)

I used to hate most poetry. I found it pretentious, didn't understand the fuss. I was also turned off when we studied poetry in English class. After spending what seemed like WEEKS dissecting a one-sentence poem about red wheelbarrows, just the word "poetry" made me want to run screaming out of the room. Then my librarian friend, Rand Bellavia, showed me some poems that I actually quite liked and even moved me. I started seeking out poetry. And after a while, I could even enjoy poems like the one about a red wheelbarrow (see the end of this page for some of my favourites). I try to read at least one poem a day, either from, from one of Garrison Keillor's GOOD POEMS collections or The Writer's Almanac.

I also started writing poems. I try to write a poem every day for my private journal; most of these will remain private, written just for me.

BUT I've also had some poems published in print and online venues, and even been (*gasp*) paid for them. I've also enjoyed participating in community poetry events like Robert Lee Brewer's Poem-A-Day Challenge (also see his Poetic Asides blog). And I was honored to have one of Margarita Engle's wonderful poems as a creative prompt for my contribution in Colby Sharp's The Creativity Project.

I'll gradually be posting some of the poems I've written for young readers on this page as well as links to my free-print ready posters and worksheets. Also see Debbie's Print-Ready Archives For Teachers, Librarians, Booksellers and Young Readers.




by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

What if we both woke up one day
and found this was all a dream,
and that you were a marmot
and I was a flea.

Would you let me bite,
or would you scratch?




(I'll be gradually updating this over time)


Welcome Morning - by Anne Sexton. Love the joy.


Differences Of Opinion - by Wendy Cope.


When Death Comes - by Mary Oliver. I want this read at my funeral (not that I plan to die anytime soon).



Teacher's Lounge at workshop ideas, poetry teaching links and other resources.

Poetry Archive's Links To Poetry Resources For Teaching and Learning

Resources for Teen Poets - on

Margarita Engle's resources for teachers, including Poetry Teaching Tips

Won Ton and Chopstick - A Cat and Dog Tale Told In Haiku - resources for young readers/writers, based on  wonderful Won Ton picture books by Lee Wardlaw and Eugene Yelchin

10 Ways To Use Poetry In Your Classroom - by Keith Schoch on Reading Rockets

Get a free poem a day from children's author Jane Yolen! Sign up here.