Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



What’s Happening This Week

What’s Happening This Week

There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.



Book Recommendations

Looking for age-appropriate book recommendations, author interviews, and fun activity ideas? Check out our podcasts.

Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

Chatting About Books: Recommendations for Young Readers



Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers

Text Messages: Recommendations for Adolescent Readers


HomeClassroom ResourcesCalendar Activities

December 10

Poet Emily Dickinson was born in 1830.

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Poet Emily Dickinson was born in 1830.

Grades 9 – 12
Calendar Activity Type Author & Text





Emily Dickinson wrote nearly 1700 poems, though fewer than 10 were published in her lifetime. Her style, consisting of unorthodox phrasing, imagery, syntax, and capitalization, was considered too radical at the time she wrote. Today, Dickinson's work is considered among the greatest in American literature.




Use one of Dickinson's most famous poems, "This Is My Letter To The World", for a classroom activity on how audience affects voice.

Discuss the poem with your students, focusing on the idea that the speaker was writing to a "world" that did not care about him or her and that he or she wanted to be treated gently. Ask students to imagine themselves stranded on a desert island for 10 years. Have them use the ReadWriteThink Letter Generator to write two letters to send off the island in two separate bottles. One letter should be addressed and written to someone they know and care about. The second letter should be addressed and written to the world at large (i.e., no one person in particular). See the Letter Generator page for more information about this tool.

After this exercise, students should consider how much of their writing depended on the audience. Have them examine word choice, subject, and tone in each letter.




  • Dickinson Electronic Archives

    This website offers a remarkable collection of poetry, scholarly articles, and classroom activities dedicated to Dickinson's work. The site also links to similar resources for the poetry of Walt Whitman.


  • The Academy of American Poets: Emily Dickinson

    Included on the Poets.org website, this page includes a student-friendly biographical entry about Dickinson, a few of her poems, and links to other related websites.


  • Selected Poems of Emily Dickinson

    The University of Virgina offers the text of numerous Dickinson poems. Brief biographical information about Dickinson is also included.


  • Emily Dickinson's Biography

    The Emily Dickinson Museum offers a brief look at Dickinson's biography.



back to top


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Audience, Purpose, and Language Use in Electronic Messages

Students explore using electronic messaging and Internet abbreviations for specific purposes and examine the importance of using a more formal style of writing based on their audience.


Grades   9 – 12  |  Lesson Plan  |  Minilesson

Is a Sentence a Poem?

Students use their own poetry to analyze syntax, imagery, and meaning in a one-sentence poem by a canonical author to decide what makes it a poem.


Grades   3 – 5  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Dancing Minds and Shouting Smiles: Teaching Personification Through Poetry

Students learn about personification by reading and discussing poems and then brainstorm nouns and verbs to create personification in their own poems.


Grades   6 – 8  |  Lesson Plan  |  Standard Lesson

Using Classic Poetry to Challenge and Enrich Students' Writing

This lesson sets poetry in motion when students experiment with poetic styles to improve their writing skills and enhance their understanding of poetry.