Teaching Poetry to Kids

by | Apr 17, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Are you looking for an inspired way to engage your kids and inspire a love of reading and writing poetry? Teaching poetry to children is not only fun but also helps them develop language skills that can be incredibly beneficial. Whether engaging in traditional forms like limericks or haikus or searching for new and exciting ways to approach the art form, there are countless ways to make learning poetry interactive, creative, meaningful – and yes- even enjoyable! In this blog post, we will give you the tools you need to make teaching poetry both rewarding and educational. Let’s get started exploring how we can introduce poetic experiences in a way that kids will love!

How to introduce poetry

It’s important to remember that young children may not have the same appreciation for poetic language and structure as adults do. Because of this, it’s important to start by introducing different kinds of poems and how they can be used to express ideas and emotions. You can use examples from popular culture, like song lyrics or nursery rhymes, to help them understand the basics. Once they understand the concept of a poem, they can move on to more complex pieces with longer lines and stanzas. Be sure to provide plenty of visual aids when teaching these more complicated concepts, as images make them much easier for kids to comprehend. Additionally, don’t forget about other aspects of poetry, such as rhythm and sound. You can use clapping games or other activities to help kids get a better understanding of rhyme schemes and metrical feet. Always remember to incorporate fun! Poetry doesn’t always have to be serious. It’s important to allow children the freedom to be creative and express themselves in their own way. 


Basics of Poetry

Let’s start with the basic elements of poetry. Now, don’t worry, I know it might sound a bit daunting, but I promise it’s not that complicated. Basically, when we talk about the elements of poetry, we’re referring to the different tools poets use to create their works. This can include things like rhyme, meter, imagery, and symbolism. Understanding these building blocks can help you appreciate poetry on a whole new level, and might even inspire you to try writing some poetry of your own! 

Rhyme is the repetition of similar sounds between or at the end of words in a line or poem. Meter is a set pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables used to create an audible rhythm in a poem. Imagery includes descriptive language used to evoke sensory experiences by engaging readers’ senses visually, auditorily, olfactorily (smell), gustatorily (taste), and tactilely (touch). Finally, symbolism is when writers use objects or actions that are not literal but represent something else within the context of the poem. It’s critical for kids to understand all of these elements in order to fully appreciate and understand the depth that a piece of poetry can convey. With some practice and creativity, kids can use these key principles to create their own poems. 


Teaching the different types of poetry

Poetry has been used to express emotions, events, and ideas for centuries. There are various types of poetry, each with its unique characteristics. Teaching kids about poetic devices can help them gain confidence in their writing and open up the possibilities for creativity. While it’s not necessary to use every element of poetry in each piece, introducing children to these literary techniques early helps ensure they become comfortable with their own creative abilities. A great way to build confidence is to have a discussion about the different types of poetry and then let them choose which one works best for their poem.

Some of the different types of poetry include sonnets, haikus, couplets, odes, free verse, and ballads. Recognizing each type of poetry can be challenging, but it is worth it. For example, haikus consist of three lines with 5 syllables in the first line, 7 syllables in the second line, and 5 syllables in the third line. Haikus often describe a moment in nature. Sonnets, on the other hand, have 14 lines with a specific rhyme scheme, and they sometimes express love or desire. Couplets are two-line rhyming poems that echo each other in meaning and quatrains consist of four lines with an alternating rhyme scheme. Knowing the different types of poetry and how to recognize them allows us to appreciate the art and beauty of poetry on a deeper level. Allowing kids to experiment with various forms cultivates creativity and encourages them to dream bigger when it comes to their writing. 


Introduce different poets

Robert Frost, Langston Hughes, and Maya Angelou have created some of the most iconic pieces of poetry, so they can serve as a great introduction to the craft. Talk about how each poet used different elements of poetry in their work, such as meter and rhythm, imagery and symbolism, or rhyme and alliteration. Explain that these elements come together to create something unique and special. Finally, show them examples of famous poems written by each poet to illustrate your points.


Guide them through the process of selecting an appropriate form for their poem 

Explaining that different subjects need different structures is also key when teaching poetry to kids. Some topics may benefit from free verse while others require structure. Some may be better written in a quatrain or in couplets. Letting children try different forms will help them find the right fit for their poems and develop their style as they go on to create more complex works. The key is to provide age-appropriate guidance while introducing various poetic structure options.


Have them write their own poems and share them

Practice with your children by having them write their own poems using one element at a time. For example, start with rhythm before moving on to other poetic devices like similes or metaphors. Encourage creativity throughout the process and especially for younger children, remind them that poetry doesn’t need to follow any specific rules – just have fun and let the words flow! For those children who love structure, consider taking an already-written poem to use as a guide. 

Invite your children to share their work with you or family members. This will help build their confidence and give them a sense of accomplishment – they’ll be proud that their work is valued by others. Teaching poetry to kids can be an enjoyable experience for both you and your children especially when you make space to highlight their creativity.


Give them feedback on their work

When it comes to teaching kids poetry, feedback is invaluable! As they hone their skills and practice different methods of writing poems, giving them constructive criticism can help them grow into better writers. This is especially true when dealing with older students. Don’t be afraid to give helpful suggestions for improvement. When giving feedback, always be sure to praise the good parts and suggest ways for improvement in the not-so-great parts. For instance, if their poem has a great opening line that grabs readers’ attention, let them know how effective it is! On the other hand, if some lines don’t make sense or are repetitive, offer suggestions as to how they could change those lines. Encourage them to experiment with different poetic elements such as rhyme and meter and point out examples of these elements when you see them. 



The world of poetry can be intimidating, especially when you’re just starting out. But with a few tips and tricks, teaching poetry to kids can become an exciting, inspiring journey! Helping kids understand the elements of poetry and select the right form for their work can open up new possibilities for creativity—and set them up for success as writers now and in the future. So get started today and watch your young poets bloom.




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