Poetry is such a fun topic to teach students, but so many students resist it! Poems have so many different forms and can be written about any topic. In addition, poems can be written easily in every grade level - as long as teachers follow a few easy steps. Improve poetry writing in your classroom by implementing a few easy steps.

Learn how to teach your students to enjoy writing poetry! This post discusses seven easy steps every teacher can implement with students in both traditional classrooms or homeschool settings.

Read Poetry Often

This seems like a no brainer, but students need to be familiar with a lot of poems before they will feel comfortable writing them. Starting as early in the school year as possible, begin reading poems. Poems can be used to start the day, in short stretches of "dead" time, or even as journal prompts. Just try to work in one poem each day - and don't be afraid to repeat well-loved poems. The more kids read poetry, the more they will understand it - that it has different forms and different topics. It isn't all love and valentines!

Select Appropriate Forms of Poems

There are so many different types of poetry. Some forms have a lot of rules, while others have very few - or even none! If you are teaching younger students, stick with poetry forms that have few rules. Older students may be ready to write more difficult poems, but then again, maybe they aren't. It is important that you know your students and their writing abilities. When I teach poetry, I always start with free verse or a form of poetry the class already knows, then slowly move students to more complicated poems.

I Do, We Do, You Do

This is an old teaching trick, but I do think it helps students understand how to write poems. Every time I introduce a new type of poetry, I start by modeling how to write the poem in front of the students. Students see how I brainstorm ideas and then slowly write and revise the lines of my poem. After I finish a poem, we write one as a class. I have students suggest topics and pick one.  Then I have pairs of students work on different lines of the poem.  (If the poem form is short, I have the class work on more than one poem - I just assign the topic and line to a partner pair.) TIP: Give a reasonable time limit for them to develop their line. After we have finished these group poems, I ask kids to work on their own poems.
Learn how to teach your students to enjoy writing poetry! This post discusses seven easy steps every teacher can implement with students in both traditional classrooms or homeschool settings.

Free Write

It is important for students to just focus on getting their ideas down. There are always a few students who worry about getting everything perfect the first time, but that is very detrimental to writing poetry. It's okay to make mistakes - poems go through revisions just like stories. Often a poem will morph into something else as it is revised - and it's often better than the first idea! 

I usually start poetry writing with a brainstorming-only session. Each student should write down a few ideas for their topic.  I then have students brainstorm ideas connected to the topic they think they want to use. Sometimes kids find that they don't have enough thoughts about their topic to write a whole poem. Often this happens when kids think they have a topic that will be really funny, but it doesn't really mean much to them. They try to stick with it thinking it will make kids laugh, but in reality they just don't have any ideas to elaborate the topic. When that happens, I guide students to look at the other topics they brainstormed and think about what all they could say. Usually students will have one topic that means a lot to them or for which they have a lot of ideas. 

Allow Partner Writing

I don't always allow students to work with partners, but I offer it as an option frequently.  Providing the option to write with a partner has always increased student engagement in writing poetry.  It removes a lot of the risk for students - their is less chance it could be wrong or dumb.  (These are big fears for middle grades students.) In fact, my students have written a lot of very creative poems because they were able to bounce ideas off of a partner.  

Voluntary Sharing

Let's be honest, a lot of kids love to share. Love it. Other kids hate it. I try to leave a few minutes at the end of the writing session for kids to share poems. Instead of making everyone share a poem, I ask kids to share. If kids don't want to share, I don't force them to do so. However, everyone usually enjoys hearing what other students have written. 

After I have read through their poems, I will anonymously share a few on another day. This is a good way to acknowledge the writing of students who are just too shy or afraid to share their poems otherwise.

Have A Purpose

In my class, students seemed more motivated to write poems (or anything else) if their was an end goal to their writing. For example, our county holds a student book competition every year.  Each school can submit books in different categories. Sometimes students would use their finished poetry book for this contest. Another example could be that you have a binding machine in your school, and students can bind their poems when they finish. (I also timed this to fall close to Mother's Day, so students frequently gave their poetry books to the mom or grandma.)
If you are looking for a poetry writing unit, my teacher friends and I have used my Poetry Writing Unit with students, and it has been well received by students. Students learn how to write several forms of poetry. For each type, I included printables to help guide students through the writing process. I also included optional pages for final copies that could be bound as a book.


I hope you got a few new tips for teaching students how to write poetry. What works well in your classroom? I would love to know what writing tip you have used successfully with your students!
There are so many easy ways to integrate technology into your poetry writing! Many teachers have students type their poetry, but why not add even more technology options for your students? There are a number of free apps and websites that can be used to help students write poetry. Beginner poets will appreciate having the support some site provide, but even more advanced students will enjoy writing their poems with technology. I did find many paid apps, but for this post I only focused on free sites.
Would you like to integrate technology into your poetry writing lessons? This post reviews seven free apps and websites that can be used by upper elementary students when they write poetry.
Have you ever announced to your class that you would be working on a poetry unit and all the students cheered? Yeah, me neither. Usually there are a few students that love poetry, but the groans outweigh the enthusiastic cheers. So why do so many students hate reading poetry?

Let's be honest. Poetry has a bad rep among students, especially boys. Close your eyes and clear your mind. What are the first things you see when you think of poetry? I don't know about you, but I saw valentines and love poems. Not exactly the most popular thing in middle grades. So how can you, as a teacher, help your students to love reading poetry? By the end of this post, you will know four steps to introducing poetry, as well as have free poetry resources including apps and classroom resources.

Why Students Hate Poetry and How to Make Them Love It! - Teach poetry so that kids love it, and discover free resources including apps and classroom resources.

Poetry is one of those topics teachers seem to either love or hate. Students seem to feel the same way. However, Common Core and state reading standards are emphasizing figurative language more than ever. Not only do students have to learn how to read poetry, they also need to learn to compare and contrast it with other types of literature. Whether you love it or hate it, you need to teach it. So what's the trick to making poetry fun and enjoyable for both teachers and students?
12 Amazing Poets Who Make Kids Love Poetry! Learn about the poetry of twelve different poets that upper elementary students enjoy reading. Suggested books are provided for each poet.


In my experience, the most important part of teaching poetry is to make it fun. That's it. Even when I taught poetry to older students, it didn't take long for their grumbling to stop because I made sure that everyone felt successful during our activities. And as a lot of poetry is up to personal interpretation, it isn't hard for students to realize that their opinion is probably right!

In order to get students comfortable with poetry, teachers need to read it to them. But who should you read? For many adults, poems are remembered as long and difficult pieces of writing they had to dissect in high school. However, today there is such a wide variety of poets out there to read that teachers couldn't possibly fit them all in! A few poets write books specifically aimed at children, but my students have also enjoyed reading the classic poets as well. Teachers should take the time to read a variety of poets and earmark poems they feel are especially interesting or that they feel their students would enjoy. This will also help teachers to select a variety of poetry styles and topics, so that every students hears at least one poem that appeals to them.

I have selected a few of my favorite poets, as well as some that come highly recommended for younger students. By the end of the blog post, you will learn about twelve different poets your students will enjoy!
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