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10 Fun Poetry Activities for Elementary Students

November 18, 2020 by Janessa Fletcher




Poetry in the classroom can be very fun.

There are different activities for everyone.

Your students will love it and always shout “YAY!”

Poetry helps us teach literacy skills in a new way.

Here are some resources and activities for you.

10 Fun Poetry Activities are the cool things to do!

I really love using poetry to teach my students different literacy skills. Over the years, I have found that poems can be used for much more than just identifying rhyming words. I can use them to work on phonics skills, comprehension strategies, visualizing, and fluency and syllabication. Students also get introduced to the different types of poetry that can be written. (Their minds are always blown when I tell them that not all poems rhyme. 🤯 LOL) Here are 10 Fun Poetry Activities for Elementary Students.

#1 ~ Rhyming

Let’s start with the most obvious skill… identifying and producing rhyming words. After reading a poem, I ask my students to go back and identify any rhyming pairs they heard. I also like to pair a poem with a rhyming center, so students can work on identifying rhyming words in isolation and then within text.

To practice producing rhyming pairs, I like to read books that are written in rhyme. We play a game of “Guess the Word”, where I read the lines, but pause at the second rhyming word in the phrases. Students then try to guess what that word may be, based on the previous word they heard. Some book recommendations for this include… We Go Together!, Giraffes Can’t Dance, Hush!

 #2 ~ Phonics Skills

We have created a poems bundle that includes rhyming words, but specifically focuses on a phonics skill throughout that particular poem. When using these, instead of asking my students to identify rhyming pairs, I have them read the poem and then go back and list all of the words from it that contain the focus phonics skill. I use them as a supplement to help strengthen phonics knowledge and spelling patterns. With over 100 different phonics patterns included in this resource, I know that there is a poem for every small group or student I am working with.

Easy to Implement Poetry Types

There are so many different types of poetry you can teach your students. Color poems, 5 Senses poems, All About Me poems, Shape poems, Found poetry (using quotes found in magazine to create a poem), List poems, and Free Verse poems. We have a center set of poetry mats that include graphic organizers for many of these poem types. My favorites to teach are listed below:

#3 ~ Rhyming Couplets –

This is where I start with my students, as they are the easiest to teach and write and the most familiar to students. With just two lines, you make sure that the last word in each line rhymes.

#4 ~ Haikus –

They are a great way to have students practice syllables in words. The first and third lines have 5 syllables and the second line has 7.

#5 ~ Acrostics –

These are my most favorite type of poem to teach and students have a lot of fun with them. I usually start out simple with their name and use adjectives or short phrases for each letter. Throughout the year, we will create more acrostics using themed words.

#6 ~ Cinquains –

I love to pair the introduction of cinquains with grammar instruction on parts of speech. We review what nouns, adjectives, and verbs mean before beginning to work on this type of poetry. The format is… (1st line (Noun), 2nd line (2 adjectives), 3rd line (3 verbs), 4th line (feelings-4 words), 5th line (synonym for line 1)

#7 ~ Diamantes –

These are very similar to cinquains and are another poem that pairs well with grammar instruction. In the end, they take on the shape of a diamond. (line 1 – noun (topic), line 2 – 2 adjectives, line 3 – 3 ‘ing’ words, line 4 – 4 nouns, line 5 – 3 ‘ing’ words, line 6 – 2 adjectives, line 7 – synonym for line 1 (noun))

#8 ~ Using Poetry for Fluency

Poems are a great way to help your students practice fluency, especially the flow and rhythm of reading. They tend to be shorter than stories and therefore not as daunting of a reading task. Your lower readers won’t shy away from trying to tackle a poem like they would a book. They rhyme in poems also helps struggling readers to tackle unknown words, as they know that they most likely rhyme with the word in the line before. It helps those students use their knowledge of phonemic awareness to help with fluency. This poetry bundle has over 200 poems to choose from to help strengthen fluency skills in your students.  The selection of poems allows me to differentiate for all of my students, based on their fluency needs.

#9 ~ Comprehension Through Poetry

As I stated above, poems are usually easier to read because the text is shorter and there aren’t as many words. The same is true of comprehension. Since the text isn’t as long, students are better able to comprehend what they read. The poems bundle listed above has gotten a makeover and we have now included comprehension questions for every poem. Students will be able to use visualization to draw a picture of what they feel the poem is about, identify words with a certain phonics skill from the poem, answer two multiple choice questions, and one short answer question. It is a great way to get your new readers working on comprehension skills as well as fluency practice.

#10 ~ Create “Found” Poetry

This poetry activity is a favorite of my students. Ask families to bring in magazines, newspapers, or old unwanted books into class. Students will go through those and cut out phrases that mean something to them. Once they’ve found 5-7 clippings, they glue them in any order to create their “found” poem. These poems are original poetry masterpieces!

I hope that you have found some fun poetry activities for elementary students . It is a wonderful way to see the creative side of your kiddos, while practicing essential phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, and comprehension skills. The kids will be having so much fun creating their own poems that they won’t even know the valuable skills they are learning. 😉

Written by: Janessa Fletcher

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