6 Types of Poem to Write on National Poetry Day

28th 28/09/18 09:00

    Since 1994, National Poetry Day has engaged everyday people with poetry through all kinds of live and virtual events up and down the country. Every year, the poetry is so vast and exciting, that each year receives a new theme. On October 4th 2018, the theme is: Change.

    National Poetry Day

    Anyone can run an event to be a part of National Poetry Day, and every classroom is encouraged to take part, too. The National Poetry Day website lists tonnes of free resources for schools, but we thought we'd share with you our favourite kinds of poems (6, to be precise) that you could let your students have a crack at on October 4th. 

    1. Acrostic

    An acrostic is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a word or message. For example:

    Positive about Education
    Rapid Recall Masters
    Objectives? We meet all the best National Curriculum ones!
    Primary Education is our thing
    Engaging and exciting everyday resources
    Lovers of making every lesson a game
    Learning something new everyday
    Education focused
    Reducing the workload of everyday teachers

    Acrostics are easy and fun ways to get everyone in the class writing a poem. There’s no need for them to rhyme, or even make sense! Just make sure the letters at the start spell something out. Everyone in the class could write an acrostic about the person sat next to them, or maybe about their favourite subject in school.


    2. Cinquain

    A cinquain poem is a verse of five lines that do not rhyme, and each line has a set number of syllables:

    Line 1: 2 Syllables
    Line 2: 4 Syllables
    Line 3: 6 Syllables
    Line 4: 8 Syllables
    Line 5: 2 Syllables

    The Cinquain poem was created by Adelaide Crapsey – here’s an example of one of her own poems.

    If it
    Were lighter touch
    Than petal on flower resting
    On grass, oh still too heavy it were,
    Too heavy!

    Can your class write a poem while counting all the syllables in every line?


    3. Haiku

    If five lines restricted by syllables is a bit too much, try a Haiku. Haikus consist of 3 lines and 17 syllables broken up by:

    Line 1: 5 Syllables
    Line 2: 7 Syllables
    Line 3: 5 Syllables

    Haikus, like Cinquains, don’t have to rhyme, but it’s a challenge if you want one. Try and get students to write a haiku where lines 1 and 3 rhyme.


    4. Limerick

    For a little bit more fun but also a little more challenge, try writing limericks with your class. There are syllable rules again, but they’re a little bit more flexible…

    • The first, second and fifth lines should rhyme and have the same number of syllables (typically 8 or 9)
    • The first and forth lines rhyme with each other and have the same number of syllables (typically 5 or 6)

    Limericks are traditionally a bit silly, so you can go wild with your ideas. In fact, the first limericks appeared in a book called ‘Book of Nonsense’ in the 1800s by Edward Lear. One of his poems was about a man in a boat

    There was an Old Man in a boat,
    Who said, ‘I’m afloat, I’m afloat!’
    When they said, ‘No! You ain’t!’
    He was ready to faint,
    That unhappy Old Man in a boat.

    old man boat.jpg


    5. Rhyming

    Everyone knows a rhyming poem, so if you want something you don’t have to explain too much, let your class run wild with a traditional rhyming poem and see what they come up with.

    You could get them to read existing poems and pick out the rhyming patterns and try to mimic them in their own writing. Start with something simple like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and see if your students can pick out that the rhymes come in pairs.


    6. Shape

    If you want coloured pencils and another level of creativity woven into your World Poetry Day, try a shape poem. A Shape Poem, as defined by the Young Writers, is a type of poetry that describes an object and is shaped the same as the object the poem is describing.

    You could write a poem about the sun or a cookie in a circle, about love in a heart or about a rainbow in a rainbow!

    Download our Shape Poetry templates for free here 


    We'd love to hear about what you get up to on National Poetry Day, and how you make these poem types work with the theme of 'change'.  Tag us in your pictures on twitter, we're @propeller_learn!