Poetry For Kids: How to Write a Poem With Examples
One of my earliest memories of writing were sitting in my elementary school class writing poems for Mom and Dad. I'm sure they still have some saved today, alongside the many essays and other pieces of writing accumulated over the years.
Poems for children can be fun to write at any age and make for a great activity for kids to get creative. Here is a list of six different types of poems that can be written by children that have simple rules to follow. I have also provided a brief overview of the history of most types of poetry listed.
Understanding how to write a poem is easy, especially with a few examples. Whether you are looking for a fun activity for the classroom or just something to do at home, poems can be a simple activity to help teach and learn.
Example of an Acrostic Poem
"A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky"
By Lewis Carroll
A BOAT beneath a sunny sky,
Lingering onward dreamily
In an evening of July —
Children three that nestle near,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Pleased a simple tale to hear —
Long has paled that sunny sky:
Echoes fade and memories die:
Autumn frosts have slain July.
Still she haunts me, phantomwise,
Alice moving under skies
Never seen by waking eyes.
Children yet, the tale to hear,
Eager eye and willing ear,
Lovingly shall nestle near.
In a Wonderland they lie,
Dreaming as the days go by,
Dreaming as the summers die:
Ever drifting down the stream —
Lingering in the golden gleam —
Life, what is it but a dream?
The acrostic poem has been around for thousands of years, beginning with the prophesies of the Erythraean Sybil. These were written on leaves with the leaves arranged so that the first letter of each word formed a phrase. It was popular among the Greeks of the Alexandrine Period as well as monks and poets in the Middle High German and Italian Renaissance periods. More modern examples come from Edgar Allen Poe and Vladimir Nobakov.
An acrostic poem is simply lines that begin with letters forming a word or phrase that summarizes what the poem is about. For example, "A Boat Beneath a Sunny Sky" by Lewis Carroll (shown right) is a poem about Alice Pleasant Liddle from his novel, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, more commonly referred to as Alice in Wonderland. If you look down the left margin, you will notice that each letter beginning each line forms the name Alice Pleasant Liddle.
Basically, an acrostic poem can be about whatever you want and be as long as you want, as long as that first letter of each line forms a word or phrase that has to do with what the poem is about. This is especially easy if one starts with the letters first by writing them down on each line on a piece of paper and then adding in the phrases from there. That way you can't mess up on starting a line with the wrong letter.
Alphabet poems originated from the Abecedariums that were written in order to teach children the alphabet by providing a word for each letter. Eventually, this was taken over by artists and alphabet poetry emerged.
Alphabet poems are similar to acrostic poems in that the first letter of each line is important. However, instead of forming a phrase or word, each initial letter forms the alphabet. Just like the acrostic poems, it is easiest to begin by writing out the alphabet with each letter on each line and then forming phrases for each line afterwards.
Templates for Autobiographical Poems
- 8 Portrait Poems and Examples
More templates for autobiographical poems.
An autobiographical poem is easy because it requires less creativity than the types of poems above. All the child has to do is fill in the blanks for whatever template is provided. One example of a template is listed below, with a link for more to the right.
Line 1: ____ (Your name)
Line 2: ___, ___, ___ (3 personal characteristics or physical traits)
Line 3: Brother or sister of(or son/daughter of) ____
Line 4: Who loves____, ____, and ____ (3 people, things, ideas)
Line 5: Who feels____ about____ (1 emotion about 1 thing)
Line 6: Who needs____, ____, and ____ (3 things you need)
Line 7: Who gives ____, ____, and ____ (3 objects you share)
Line 8: Who fears____, ____, and ____ (3 items)
Line 9: Who'd like to see, ____ (1 place/person)
Line 10: Who dreams of ____ (1 item/idea)
Line 11: A student of____ (your school or teacher's name)
Line 12: ____ (Nickname or repeat your first name)
The cinquain was created in 1916 by Adelaide Crapsey and is heavily influenced by her love of haiku and tanka verse. Crapsey was an American teacher who suffered from tuberculosis toward the end of her life but still managed to produce 30 poems in her cinquain style.
There are many different forms of cinquain poetry. The most popular form is the didactic cinquain, which is used today mainly to teach children how to group together different types of words, such as adjectives and nouns. The three basic forms of the cinquain are provided to the right.
Basic Forms of Cinquain Poetry
Line 1: One word
Line 2: Two words
Line 3: Three words
Line 4: Four words
Line 5: One word
Line 1: A noun
Line 2: Two adjectives
Line 3: Three -ing words
Line 4: A phrase
Line 5: Another word for the noun
Line 1: Two syllables
Line 2: Four syllables
Line 3: Six syllables
Line 4: Eight syllables
Line 5: Two syllables
Example of Diamante
Bat cracks against
The pitch, sending it out
Over the back fence, I did it!
(by Cindy Barden)
Please note that in order for it to have its diamond shape, the poem must be centered, something that I cannot do here.
Diamante poetry shares the same history as the cinquain as it is a type of cinquain poetry. The only difference between the two is that the diamante forms a diamond. Its basic form is as follows:
Line 1: Noun or subject - one word
Line 2: Two Adjectives that describe line 1
Line 3: Three 'ing words that describe line 1
Line 4: Four nouns (the first two are connected with line 1; the last two are connected with line 7)
Line 5: Three 'ing words that describe line 7
Line 6: Two adjectives that describe line 7
Line 7: Noun Synonym for the subject
Example of Haiku
An old silent pond...
A frog jumps into the pond,
splash! Silence again.
-- Basho Matsuo
Haiku poetry comes from tanka poetry, which was used in Japanese courts during the ninth and twelfth centuries. It is a brief poem that is intended to be written in exploration of meaning in the world. Its brevity and simple rules are what make it easy and fun for children to write in the classroom. It allows children to use observation skills and reflect on feelings.
The basic form of a haiku is as follows:
Line 1: five syllables
Line 2: seven syllables
Line 3: five syllables
© 2012 LisaKoski
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