(Dys)poetry: Summer Workshop for Kids

“I grew up with learning (dys)abilities in a community that views academic success as success in life. I began to learn to read at the age of eight; my school years were tough, with no easy translation between ability and academic success. Now, my poetry works to bridge the gap between those who read with ease, and those who struggle to read. As a poet, I am excited about how language can be bound to the page, as a site, to make poetry. At the same time, the page is the site of my reading (dys)abilities, my barrier to comprehension. This complex relationship to the page, and to poetry, means that I have an unusual perspective which allows me to broaden the conversation about teaching reading and writing, and explore strategies for reclamatory and/or recuperative writing practices. On a larger scale, I believe it is important to open up the conversation because people with learning (dys)abilities are often marginalized in the reading and writing world.”

Sarah Shapiro

(Dys)poetry: Summer Workshop is a program aimed at children from grades first through fifth who struggle with language-learning (dys)abilities. This presentation, hosted via Zoom will engage kids with language exploration and learning through poetry. Sarah will talk about her struggles with language-learning, and guide kids through an interactive writing activity. By the end of the 60 minute session, each child will have written their own concrete poem.

Learning goals:

  • Bring poetry to children in an accessible and creative way.
  • Empower children to have ownership over words and their stories.
  • Enable children to write their own poetry and explore new styles of writing.
  • Highlight accessible experiences for children who are resistant readers and writers. 

This session will be offered for free via Zoom as Sarah continues to reorient the workshop for distance learning.


  • Children under 13 must have permission from their parent to participate in this program via Zoom
  • Computer / tablet with capability to join private Zoom conference
  • 3-5 sheets of lined paper
  • Pencils / pens