Sunday, April 14, 2024
Teaching Ideas for a Poetry Day

Teaching Ideas for a Poetry Day

by Mark Warner
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Ages: 5-11
Contributor: Sam Collins

If you’re planning a poetry day, week or term, try out some of these teaching ideas and classroom activities!

If you have any other ideas of your own, let us know by adding a comment below.


  • The Poetry PackDownload our Poetry Pack for lots of ideas and resources.
  • Visit the National Literacy Trust Poetry resources and National Poetry Day resources pages; they have lots of free resources to support poetry teaching.
  • Give children a range of different poetry forms to read. What do they notice about them? The book Is This a Poem by Roger Stevens is perfect for this.
  • Teach children an imagery technique such as simile, then give them a copy of a poem that uses simile and ask them to find them. Repeat with other techniques such as alliteration and onomatopoeia.
  • Use our Poetry Language Planners to help children plan their own poems.
  • Show children a poem and demonstrate how to find the rhyming pattern. Give children a copy of another poem and ask them to identify the rhyming pattern.
  • Give the children a Poetry Scavenger Hunt to complete. Create a list of items for children to find in different poems (e.g., a word that rhymes with “blue,” a poem about a cat) and challenge them to find them all.
  • Download our free Poetry Banners for your display board.
  • Use a different art form as a stimulus for a poem, such as a painting or piece of music.
  • Visit The Children’s Poetry Archive to hear lots of poems read aloud.
  • Found Poetry: Provide students with a page from an old book or magazine and ask them to circle words, phrases and sentences that stand out to them. Use paint or a marker pen to block out the rest of the text and create a poem.
  • Discuss a poem that can be read forward or backwards, such as Refugee by Brian Bilston. What effect does the technique have on the reader?
  • Share a poem that uses interesting vocabulary, such as If All the World Were Paper by Joseph Coelho, and ask the children to identify words they are unsure of. Ask them to suggest what the words might mean before looking them up in a dictionary.
  • Cut up two or three poems and mix the pieces up – can children sort them out? Can they make new poems?
  • Ask the children to write a poem about themselves without revealing their names. Can the rest of the class guess who wrote it?
  • Partner up with another class to share poems together.
  • Try an idea from this list of poetry games.
  • Write a new nursery rhyme
  • Learn and perform a poem in a group.
  • Generate lists of rhyming words. This Rhyming Dictionary is really useful (be aware that it only gives and recognises US American spellings).
  • Use some ideas from BookTrust’s Poetry Prompts project.
  • Download our Nonsense Poetry collection and enjoy reading them to each other.



  • Write a poem based on a scientific activity, such as going on a nature walk or doing an experiment. What is the difference between the poem and the more scientific writing generated by the activity, like recording findings?
  • Write a haiku about the weather.
  • Visit The Poetry Society’s Resources for lesson ideas about climate change.


  • Create an image inspired by a poem.
  • Give the children a poem to annotate using a program or app, like Google Drawings or Microsoft Word.
  • Create a presentation that animates a poem, using Powerpoint or Google slides. How do the animation effects enhance the poem?
  • Explore the Read Write Think site for interactive tools like the Haiku Poem Interactive and the Theme Poem Interactive.
  • Try using the Magnetic Poetry Kit to create a poem.
  • Research and write a blog post about webpages where poetry for children is available, such as and Poetry4kids.

Design Technology:

  • Design a bookmark for a poetry book.


  • Give the children a poem to illustrate.
  • Look at a poem inspired by an artwork, such as Hunters in the Snow by William Carlos Williams (1962) which was inspired by Hunters in the Snow, Pieter Bruegel the Elder (scroll down on this page to see them both). Discuss how the poem describes the painting. Does the poem make you think about the picture differently?
  • Visit The J. Paul Getty Museum’s site to see lots of ideas for linking poetry to art.



  • Find poems from around the world, and map out where they come from on a world map or Google maps.
  • Write a poem about a place.


  • Compare poetry that was written during a historical period. For example, Edward Lear and Lewis Carroll both lived in the Victorian era. Do you notice any similarities and differences between their work?
  • Research the life of a famous poet and create a timeline, showing what important historical events happened in their lifetime.
  • Discuss whether poetry can be used as a historical source. For example, look at poems written about the First World War, such as In Flanders Fields by John McCrae.What can we learn from it?

Physical Education:

Religious Education:

  • Read a poem on a religious theme, like Creation by Bob Hartman.
  • Read some religious texts that are also poetry, such as psalms.


  • Learn some simple poems or nursery rhymes in another language. This video shows a simple French finger rhyme.

  • Explore rhyming words in a different language.


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