Truth bomb: I’ve never been a big fan of poetry. And from the research I’ve done, most teachers don’t enjoy it. And by research, I mean I’ve heard one teacher talk about poetry in my 17 years of teaching. But once I started exposing my students to it, it was their enthusiasm that finally made me enjoy it. They can be silly, serious, creative, and observant in these poetry activities for kids.
If you’re looking for activities to immerse your students in poetry keep reading for ideas for your young readers and writers. These end of the year writing activities will keep your students on their toes. Excited each day to find out what type of poem they’ll be writing.
Read-Alouds and Shared Reading
Begin by finding various poems to read to your students. You can find plenty all over the internet. Students genuinely love Kenn Nesbitt’s site Poetry 4 Kids, which includes silly poems and other poetry resources. Write a poem on chart paper or display it on your board. Model for your students how the poem is read then invite them to begin reading with you. As you read, be sure to continue the pace of a fluent reader. You’re modeling for students how the poem is read, which includes reading with expression. After practicing the poem for a day or two, hand out a paper copy to each student. Give them the opportunity to read with a partner and independently.
Vocabulary and Comprehension
Because poetry is generally short in length, it is a great place to build vocabulary and demonstrate comprehension strategies. Use gestures and pictures to help your students understand new words. Since many poems may not include pictures, give students the opportunity to practice visualizing. In addition, you could have your students illustrate the poem based on what they have seen in their minds.
And now for the poetry writing activities you’ve been waiting for. . .
Get all of the poetry activities mentioned in this article here!
Acrostic poems include using a word written vertically. The poet uses each letter from the word to write words, phrases, or sentences which are relevant to the topic. Begin by brainstorming words beginning with the letters from the topic word. After that, choose one word for each letter of the topic and write it on the line next to the letter. Here is an example of an acrostic poem about summer.
A shape poem, also known as a concrete poem, uses words to make the shape of what is being described. This shape poem idea can be used as your students begin to create their own. Begin by brainstorming words associated with the shape that has been chosen. Then have your students use their creativity to write their poems by using the words to either write around the object…
or by filling in the object.
A cinquain poem consists of five lines. It begins with one broad term such as Summer. In these poetry activities for kids, you’ll find that each poem can give your students the opportunity to practice learned skills. For instance, in this cinquain poem outline, your students are able to practice parts of speech like adjectives and verbs. The following lines describe the term and slowly lead into the final line, which is more specific to the topic.
- Line 1: topic
- Line 2: two adjectives to describe the topic
- Line 3: three related verbs ending in -ing
- Line 4: four words that lead into line 5
- Line 5: one specific word to describe line 1
Haiku is a Japanese form of poetry. Most haikus describe something in nature using the senses. Most importantly, they focus on the number of syllables in a word. So I don’t have to tell you, this is a great activity for breaking words into syllables. Here is how to write haiku… begin by having your students choose a topic. Then follow these steps:
- Line 1: 5 syllables
- Line 2: 7 syllables
- Line 3: 5 syllables
You probably know the alliterative poem “Peter Piper,” which uses an abundance of words beginning with the letter p. Read the poem to your students and ask what they notice. Then choose a letter and ask students to help you make a list of as many words as you can beginning with the letter. Once you have a good selection, show students how you can use the words to create sentences using alliteration.
Color poems are a great way for kids to show off their creativity and to use their senses. They’ll begin by choosing a color and thinking of things that are the color they chose. This will help to get them started. Demonstrate how you would complete a color poem to give students an idea of how they will go about it. You might begin by having students write a color poem with you or with a buddy and, as a result, give them confidence.
A simile is a figure of speech that includes comparing two things. You might be familiar with crazy as a fox? Likewise, students will use similes to write a poem. In this poem, students choose a topic. Then they think of things they can compare it to. For example, ice cream is as cold as a snowy winter day. Let your students run wild with creativity in these poems. I’m sure they’ll come up with some great ideas!
And the final poem in this list of poetry activities for kids is a riddle poem. Riddle poems are tons of fun! They give students the opportunity to write clues for a topic they know a lot about. First have your students choose a topic. Then have them give clues about the topic without giving it away. Riddle poems tend to end with a question. For example, What am I? Where am I? Who am I? Students will love reading their poems to the class and the class will love figuring out the answer.
Don’t forget to download your poetry activities here!
These poetry activities for kids can be used year round, but I thought it would be nice to give your students something different as the school year winds down. They’ll enjoy creating a book and sharing their poetry with their classmates. Moreover, they’ll have something to share with their families.