New York, NY (May 10, 2018)—Teach This Poem, a program of the Academy of American Poets, has received this year’s Innovations in Reading Prize from the National Book Foundation, presenter of the National Book Awards. This prize is awarded to projects that “empower communities through literature.”

Teach This Poem was launched in September 2015 and is a weekly resource that includes a timely poem from the collection accompanied by interdisciplinary resources and activities designed to help teachers quickly and easily bring poetry into the classroom. The series is curated by Academy of American Poets Educator in Residence Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer. Produced for K–12 teachers, Teach This Poem is available for free via email and online in the Materials for Teachers section of More than 27,000 teachers have subscribed to date.

“The Academy of American Poets is deeply honored to have the National Book Foundation's endorsement of Teach This Poem, which assists teachers of all subjects in encouraging their students, and the next generation, to become regular readers of poems. We know that engaging with poetry helps young people hone creative thinking, take imaginative leaps, and learn to ask questions not just of a text, but of their world,” said Jennifer Benka, Executive Director of the Academy of American Poets.

“Poetry is a unique and vital part of the literary landscape, which is why we honor the form yearly at the National Book Awards,” said David Steinberger, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the National Book Foundation. “Poetry provides distinct opportunities to influence the way we see and think about our world, and the thoughtful, inventive work the Academy of American Poets is doing to celebrate and uplift poetry is nothing short of essential. We’re thrilled to award the Academy with this year’s Innovations in Reading Prize.”

Teach This Poem is part of the Academy of American Poets Education Program, an effort to support teachers that began in the 1960s when the organization launched the nation’s first Poets-in-the-Schools program. Today, the Academy of American Poets is the leading poetry organization providing a breadth of quality resources to our nation’s teachers. The organization’s work is guided by its Education Advisory Council and championed by Education Ambassador Richard Blanco.

The Academy of American Poets will receive $10,000 from the National Book Foundation, generously sponsored by the Levenger Foundation.

About Madeleine Fuchs Holzer
Dr. Madeleine Fuchs Holzer is the Academy of American Poets Educator in Residence and has served in this role since 2015. She curates the poems that appear in Teach This Poem, chooses the interdisciplinary resources, and writes the classroom activities. Holzer is the former executive director of EmaginationEd, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and fostering perception, imagination and creative action across academic disciplines. For over twelve years, she served as educational development director and program development director at Lincoln Center Institute for the Arts in Education. She holds an Ed.D from Teachers College, Columbia University, an MA in English with a concentration in creative writing from New York University, and a MSW with a concentration in community organization from the University of Michigan.

About Richard Blanco
Richard Blanco is the Education Ambassador of the Academy of American Poets and helps champion Teach This Poem and train teachers on how to incorporate the series in their classes. He is the author of several poetry collections, including Matters of the Sea/Cosas del Mar (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2016). In 2013, Blanco was selected to read at Barack Obama’s second Presidential Inauguration.

About the Academy of American Poets
The Academy of American Poets is the largest membership-based nonprofit organization fostering an appreciation for contemporary poetry and supporting American poets. The organization produces, the world’s largest publicly-funded website for poets and poetry; founded and organizes National Poetry Month; publishes the popular Poem-a-Day series; creates and distributes resources for K–12 educators; offers an annual series of poetry readings and special events; and awards the American Poets Prizes. The organization also coordinates the work of a national Poetry Coalition working to promote the value poets bring to our culture and the important contribution poetry makes in the lives of people of all ages and backgrounds. ###