How to Teach Rhyming Poetry to Middle School Students (or Anyone Else, for That Matter)


How to teach 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to write poetry that rhymes rhyming poemsNot everyone has the gift of poetic language, right? For those who find it easy, the poems just flow out of you like a river flows off a mountaintop!

For kids who are fairly new to the concept, they need a jumping-off point. It helps to have them hear poetry read aloud. It also helps to have them read a few poems of their own.

But how do you help them create poems that demonstrate rhyme? I recommend that you start with a rhyming web. You can see an illustration of one of these displayed on this page. Students who are writing a poem about baseball might start with the words ball or throw. They can then create a spider web of words that rhyme with ball or throw.

From there, you often have to help them remember that the rhyming words generally fall at the ends of lines. Otherwise, you’ll get poems that look like this:

throw the ball

to and fro

I’m a pro at baseball


To help kids understand the basics, I suggest you visit my page on poetry “rules,” as it offers three basic rules of traditional poetry. By teaching them these three basic rules, you’ll start getting poems that look more like this:

The ball is fun to throw

Back and forth, to and fro

It makes me feel like a real pro!

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