With a Poem in Their Pockets, Lincoln School Students Share Their Love of Poetry

Even the custodians participate in Lincoln Elementary School’s Poem in My Pocket Day. The Caldwell school has celebrated the event for three years, with students and staff members sharing poems in the hallways, lunchroom and classrooms. Here, third grader Francesca Burrier (far right) shares her poem with (left to right) fourth grader T.J. Bellow, and custodians John Jones and Manuel Calderon. Credits: Christine Corliss

CALDWELL, NJ - Students and teachers at Lincoln Elementary celebrated their third annual Poem in My Pocket Day on April 24. Part of National Poetry Month, the idea for the day was simple: students and teachers wore a pocket around their necks that held a poem and picture about something they liked, thought was interesting, or made them smile. Coordinated by media specialist Doreen Golembeski, the poems were unfolded throughout the day in the hallways, classroom reading times, and more.

Golembeski compiled more than 250 poems for the students.

“When I introduced it (Poem in My Pocket Day) this week, students were very excited,” said Golembeski. “Some students even told me that they still had their poems and pockets from the last two years.”

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Superintendent Dr. James Heinegg also participates in the event, bringing his personally selected poem to the event.  This year, Dr. Heinegg selected a poem about the Statue of Liberty, written by Emma Lazarus, entitled The New Colossus. The Statue of Liberty poem is actually a sonnet by Lazarus written to raise money for the building of the base and is now engraved on a bronze plaque and contained inside of the Statue of Liberty.

To make the day even more fun, Lincoln School students and staff decorated their pocket to complement a poem. Then, as students and teachers pass one another in the hallways, lunch room, or playground, they try to guess the type of poem their friend or colleague carries by the decoration on the pocket.

Although Heinegg did carry his poem in a pocket, it was committed to memory. “I know many poems by heart,” he said. “This was a new way to share the love of poetry.”

Every year, in the month of April, National Poetry Month is celebrated throughout the United States and in various countries worldwide. In 2002, the City of New York created Poem in Your Pocket Day as part of the city's National Poetry Month celebration, and in 2009, the Academy of American Poets took PIYP Day national. Now, each year on PIYP Day, schools, bookstores, libraries, parks, and workplaces share open readings of poems from pockets.

So, which poem did Golembeski select to carry in her pocket? Said Golembeski, “Reading in Bed, of course.”

Reading in Bed
by Helen H. Moore

Oh, what could be better
Than reading in bed,
Or thinking about
All the books that you've read?

With someone who loves you,
A father, a mother,
A doll, or a pet,
Or a sister or brother,

A grandma, a grandpa,
An uncle, an aunt -
(Can you think of anything better?
I can't!)

While outside the sky
Is all twinkling with light,
From stars that shine down
As we sleep through the night.

Oh, what could be better
Than sleeping in bed,
When the books that you love
Fill the dreams in your head?


For more information on Lincoln Elementary School, visit .

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