Why Use This Tip
What To Do
Why Use This Tip
Children recognize the power of poetryits ability to inspire emotions and the special pleasure you can get from memorizing a favorite poem or reading it again and again. But children may not know where to start in writing their own poems. And they may not realize that poems come in a wide variety of flavorsfrom succinct haikus, to ones that follow conventions of word choice and line length, to the-sky-is-the-limit free verse.
Help a child recognize the elements of a poem and explore different ways of writing one, and you'll also enable the child to become more familiar with the meaning of words and sentences, sentence structure, rhymes, and vocabulary. Plus, in writing poetry, a child will discover a new, limitless world of expression that's just as fun to share with others as it is to create.
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What To Do
- Choose some books of poetry (see Additional Poetry Resources for some suggestions). Read some poems aloud with the child. Talk about where each line of the poem ends and how it creates rhythm, affects the meaning of the poem, and might even make the poem look a particular way.
- Sing a favorite song together and write down the lyrics. Then ask the child to write a poem that he or she could sing to the melody of the song. Use the structure of the original lyrics as a guide.
- Go on a neighborhood poetry walk. Stop at various pointsthe park, the street corner, the newsstandand ask the child to write a sentence or two that describes what he or she sees. Back at home, the child can revise and shorten those sentences and turn them into a poem.
- Show the child how to write an acrostic poem, in which the first letter of each line spells out his or her name, when read top to bottom. Once the child writes a poem based on his or her own name, the child can write about family members, friends, or pets.
- Make a slideshow poem. Have the child photograph a series of five to ten pictures (based on a common theme or during a trip). Import the photos into a multimedia software program such as PowerPoint, iPhoto, or Photo Story and ask the child to write a poem by posting a word or two with each image. Add special effects, transitions, or music to enhance the slideshow.
- Show an older child how to write a found poem, using the Found Poem Instructions. Found poems take existing text (e.g., from a passage in a book, a magazine article, a sign, a letter) and condense and reorder the words to form a new poem. Help the child select a paragraph or two from a favorite book and turn it into a found poem.
- Introduce the rhyming dictionary at Poetry4Kids.com and a thesaurus as helpful tools for writing poetry.
- Explore different types and even shapes of poems. For younger children, the three-line haiku (five words/seven words/five words) is a fun way to start. Older children may want to experiment with formats like the diamante, a seven-line poem that is shaped like a diamond (see Related Resources for an online Diamante Poems tool).
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Poetry Tips for Ryhme Poetry
Poetry can be intimidating. Don't let it be! Choose a topic for your poem that you like. Write what you know about, or write about topics in which you have an interest. Don't write a love poem if you think love poems are silly. It all starts with a great topic. If you are uncomfortable writing poetry, choose the poetic device of rhyme to make your poem sensational.
Choose Logical Rhyming Words
Most students have been writing rhymes since they were in elementary school. And, many students who still write rhyming poetry sound like they are in elementary school, unless they use rhyme in a more sophisticated fashion.Tip #1 -- Make sure the words make sense or are a logical choice for the poem when using end rhyme. End rhyme is a poetry technique where words rhyme at the end of lines in poetry. For example:
You are at the top of my list
If I only had your wrist.
Yes, those two end words rhyme. However, the two lines do not make much sense. However, if you check out the Rhyme Zone rhyme dictionary, there are many other rhyme choices for list.
Try Using Internal Rhyme
Tip #2 -- Words can even rhyme in the middle of the line. This is called internal rhyme.
Example: The kite spiraled towards the blinding light
Many students do not use this poetic device. Using internal rhyme could help you write a standout poem.
Pick a Rhyme Pattern or Scheme
Tip #3 -- Rhymes should not be random. Use a rhyme pattern or scheme, such as ABABAB, AABBAABB, AABBCC, etc.
Themist swirls in a dream A
Water trickles to a streamA
Slowly the deer pranceB
Rabbit circle in a danceB
So, when facing the poetry assignment, choose a poetic device that you already know -- rhyme. To receive a top grade, be choosey with word choice, try internal rhyme and use a rhyme pattern. Once a draft is written, share it with a parent or student who writes poetry well for some additional tips to improve the poem.