Making Poetry FUN

Poetry can be so much FUN! My kids and I enjoy reading poetry, and we recently dove into a poetry unit, which included learning more about figurative language and various types of poems.
Many picture books use lots of poetry so most children are already familiar with the basic couplets and quatrains and the simple AABB or ABAB patterns. I wanted to further stretch my children's knowledge of poetry and show them different styles of poetry, so I first brought out my favorite poetry books by Shel Silverstein from when I was a child. What a wonderful blast from the past!

 I also enjoyed using poetry books by Jack Prelutsky when I taught elementary school.

Here are a couple of my favorite poetry collections. The Big Book of Poetry is a good assortment of all styles and For Laughing Out Loud is just plain FUNNY!

I couldn't forget the classic poems, such as Mother Goose.

My kids and I took turns reading the books mentioned above, but it is refreshing to hear a different voice reading poems. Poetry Speaks to Children is one of the highest rated poetry books on CD that kids really enjoy. The best part is most of the poems in this book are read aloud by the original poets. Listening to Robert Frost read Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening was very surreal.

After reading lots of poetry books, I had my sons choose two of their favorites to memorize and then recite them in front of our family. I did this as a child and still remember the poem I recited in fourth grade.
"Spaghetti, spaghetti, all over the place. Up to my elbows, up to my face......."
Good times! Anyone else remember memorizing poems?
To get their creative juices flowing, we began with making shape poems. Kids can spend days just creating different free verse poems or simple couplets using this site.

Here is one of Colton's poems.

I read aloud Words, Wit, and Wonder to my kids to help learn the fundamental tools of writing poems. It is written on a simplistic level that children can really understand.

Next, we reviewed figurative language so my boys can relate to why the poets use it in their writing. I HIGHLY recommend purchasing Poetry: A Step By Step guide to Writing Great Poems for the mid-upper elementary grades. I adapted it for my sixth and seventh graders and it was simply awesome!!!

My kids had matched the words and phrases to the correct type of figurative language. This was a terrific review activity to our study of figurative language last school year.
Now it was time to use our knowledge of poetry and begin writing poems. I reminded my boys that they are creating their own books that they can keep forever- something they will share with their younger siblings for years and even with their own children when they are older. Using this approach completely changes their perception towards their assignments, and they try to do their very best. They are not just completing assignments, they are creating masterpieces that will be treasured by others for many years.

Here are some examples of their poems.

Enjoy having FUN with poetry!