Poetry is a fun way for children to use language. In younger classes – the emphasis is on rhymes, riddles, nursery rhymes and jingles. There is a huge amount that can be done with poetry from recitation, responding by discussion, art, writing, making their own poems.

Starting a poetry lesson (responding and reciting)

Reading the poem

  • Listen to the teacher with text
  • Listen to the teacher without text
  • Listen to another child reading it
  • Listen to a recording (poet/professional)
  • Read it silently
Focused discussion
  • What did you like?
  • What did you dislike?
  • Does the poem rhyme? Can you find sets of rhyming words?
  • What is the meaning of the poem?
  • What do you think this line means ______________________
  • Is there a hidden message in the poem?
  • What words are repeated? Why do you think the poet did this?
  • Examine the use of metaphors and similes
  • Examine the use of alliteration (seven sizzling sausages), onomatopoeia (boom, boing, splash, splat), imagery and assonance (The sailor said Hey to May/Do you like blue?/He received three emails today.)
  • Compare two or more poems
Writing poetry
Acrostic poems – these are fantastic for all age groups. In infants children can write 1/2 words. In older classes they can write longer more descriptive sentences. Acrostics can be written using children’s names, seasons, food items (ice cream/hamburger), school, homework etc.


Sunny days playing with friends
Picnics with delicious food
Insects buzzing all around
Nests built in branches
Gardens growing full of life.
Shape poems – the words take the shape of the subject of the poem.
Haiku is a Japanese poem with 3 lines and 17 syllables.
Line 1; 5 syllables
Line 2; 7 syllables
Line 3; 5 syllables


Limericks – have 5 lines. They are usually nonsense/silly poems.
The 1st, 2nd and 5th lines rhyme and usually have the same number of syllables (8/9)
The 3rd and 4th lines rhyme and have the same number of syllables (5/6)
Limericks often start with ‘There once was a ….” or “There was a …”
Alliteration poem
Children should choose a letter and write a list of nouns, verbs and adjectives.
Useful websites/Documents
Scoil Net (PDF document – great ideas)
Clip Art from http://www.mycutegraphics.com and clickr