Activities for teaching poetry

Easy Activities for Teaching Poetry

Kids LOVE poetry! It’s silly, fun, and appealing! The good news is you don’t need to be a poet to use these easy activities for teaching poetry!

Why Poetry is So Important

Not only is poetry something kids enjoy, but it also has many educational benefits. Teaching poetry helps build phonemic awareness and ultimately helps children learn to read. When you focus on rhyme and the rhythm of words in a poem, the foundation is being built for a child’s literacy skills.

Also, poetry aids in speech development and introduces your students to new vocabulary words. Learning short poems helps build the brain and even improves the memory.

Where Do I Find Poems for My Classroom?

Finding poems for kids that rhyme is easy! First, start by teaching your class traditional nursery rhymes such as Hickory Dickory Dock, Jack and Jill, and Humpty Dumpty.

Next, sing popular children’s songs with rhyming verses.  Songs like The Wheels on the Bus, Down By the Bay, and Over in the Meadow are poems put to music! These rhyming songs have catchy tunes which will make them a class favorite.

You can also use Pocket Chart Poems with your class. Children are fascinated by the simple, rhyming text of these thematic and seasonal verses.

Finally, look for poetry anthologies at the library. These collections are appealing to young children and will give you a great variety of poetry to read aloud.

How Do I Teach a Poem?

Now that you have a good supply of poems, what’s next? It’s time to share a poem with your students, of course! Ideally, you should introduce the poem to the class during large group time. Make thematic and seasonal poems part of your daily circle time or Morning Meeting routine.

Display the poem in a pocket chart or write it on large chart paper. Be sure to point to the words and pictures as you read. Then have your students do an “echo” reading. Echoing is an effective teaching tool where the teacher reads a line and the class echoes or repeats it.

Read the poem each day and do a quick activity. Regular repetition of hearing, seeing, and saying rhyming verses will aid your students in learning and instill a love of poetry!

list of activities for teaching poetry

Fundamental Activities for Teaching Poetry

Using the pocket chart poem, students can find letters and sight words. They can look for the words repeated throughout the poem or identify word families.

Print an extra set of the pocket chart cards so your class can match words and sequence the poem, too.

These fundamental activities for teaching poetry can be done at circle time or during small groups at the Teacher Table.

Once students are familiar with the poem, have them illustrate it in a Poetry Journal. You can include journals in your small groups or at morning arrival Table Time.

Extension Activities for Teaching Poetry

Here are ten activities you can do with any poem!

  1. Count the words in the poem.
  2. Do a movement activity to go along with the poem.
  3. Make a poem puzzle. Write the words of the poem on sentence strips (or use the pocket chart poems) and cut apart. Then have the class work together to assemble it.
  4. Say the poem in a funny voice! You could whisper it, use a high-pitched voice, use a giant’s voice, or talk like a robot!
  5. Look for specific letters or sight words in the poem.
  6. Find words that are repeated throughout the poem.
  7. Clap the rhythm/beats of the poem.
  8. Make a list of rhyming words in the poem and brainstorm more.
  9. Change the poem by using other rhyming words.
  10. Use sign language/fingerspelling as you recite the poem.

Poetry Will Enhance Your Teaching

Are you excited to share poetry with your students?

Check out these resources that will help you successfully include poetry in your classroom!