Teaching Poetry


Valentine's Day is coming very soon. Why not to introduce poetry to your children/students? There are  many traditional songs and nursery rhymes out there to use as many times as you want. Not that I don't like them, however, I thought this time I would introduce something different. But before that, let's review a few of the strategies I have found helpful in my own teaching practice and some new ones even for myself. Thanks to El Lapicero Mágico for refreshing my mind!

I must say that one of my best motivational strategy for children is to create their own poetry book or a classroom poetry book. They love to create books like real professional authors, :) 


This is simply finding assonance or consonant matching rhymes and be as familiar as possible.

Pues yo sé que mi tía María

se come un flan todos los días.

También mi abuelo Bartolo

juega a las cartas con Lolo

Pues a mi prima Carmela

si le gusta ir a la escuela.


The repetition of a phrase, a chorus, a word , an invented word, a question ... interspersed in the development of a story produces an admirable poetic effect.

Vamos al campo


Vamos a jugar,


A correr y saltar,


Por el campo van,


Gente a labrar.
... ... ... ... ... ...

¿Y a dónde vas?

Voy al río.

¿Y a dónde vas?

Voy a los árboles.

¿Y a dónde vas?

Voy a las estrellas.

¿Y a dónde vas?

Voy a los mares.

¿Y a dónde vas?

Voy a los insectos.

¿Y a dónde vas?

Voy a los caminos.
... ... ... ... ... ... ...


La plaza tiene una torre,

la torre tiene un balcón,

el balcón tiene una dama,

la dama una blanca flor,

(A. Machado)

This strategy shows us the " never ending story" or “de nunca acabar”,  it means to tie the last verse or last words with the following one.

Con los labios el agua,

con el agua los peces,

con los peces el mar,

con el mar los barcos,

con los barcos la tripulación,

con la tripulación el arpón,

con el arpón la ballena,

con la ballena los dientes,
... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ...

¿Por que lloras?

Porque estoy triste.

¿Por qué estás triste?

Porque no llueve.

¿Por qué no llueve?
... ... .. ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ... ..


It is to take each of the letters of a word and convert them into the initials of other words. They should be related to the "vertical" word.


We could do the same with the initial of animals, places, countries, etc.


Find a theme to work on (professions/jobs, animals, food, etc.), write a list in front of the class and work with those words to create the poem. Follow the same path for each verse. 


First verse: a la ronda de + artículo + nombre (de profesión, animal, color...)
Second verse: se explica la acción que realiza, rimando el pareado con el verso anterior.


A la ronda de la profesora, 
que camina con una señora.

6. Keep a writing journal with their own poetry, create a classroom poetry book.

7. Work in peers or small groups to create poetry together. 

Another fun way teach poetry is using poetry books and songs. Children's songs and rhymes are very powerful tool when it comes to start teaching reading and writing poetry. I suggest having at least one activity for each song/rhyme to make it fun. Here are some of my favorite ones. 

1. Listen to the songs/poem and find the rhyming words. These could be a whole word, syllable or some words at the end. Use index cards to write and highlight the rhyming words. You can even find how many syllables the word has. 


2. Find the number of verses.

3. Change the words, find new ones. 

4. Listen to the song/rhyme as many times as you want and find the missing word. In this case you should print out the lyrics/poem and erase a few words beforehand. The child  should figure out the missing word only by listening. 

5. Invite the children to draw what they hear as they listen to the song or poem. You can first model  in front of them to motivate them.

6. You can do the oposite by showing a pre-made drawing/picture and ask them to create a poem based on what they see.  

5. If the poem/song has a story on it, try to identify the main characters, setting, problem, solution, etc.

4. Introduce famous poets and their work. Use different books to model how poems are written by different authors.

Below are two resources that you might find useful during this unit. Enjoy!

If you want ideas on how to teach poetry to children, this product might be a good tool to start out.

For more ideas go here: 

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