American poet Langston Hughes was born on February 1st, 1901.

One lesson that I’ve used for years with Intermediate English Language Learners is reading his poem, The Ballad of the Landlord as part of our unit on Problem-Solution essays. After studying the poem, students write a letter to their own landlord (though we obviously don’t send it).

Here’s a video reading of that poem:

The second lesson is a great one that I’ve previously shared by teacher Andrew Kozlowsky using Hughes’ “I, Too” poem. Here are two tweets from him about it (and here’s a guest post he wrote about it):

Here is a video with Hughes himself reading his poem:


Have you used his work in other ELL lessons?