Poetry Center



The purpose of this page is to provide ideas, models, and instructional strategies for creating a rich, hands on poetry center that kids will love and be excited about.  

Poetry is very important to children. Rhymes and patterns come natural for children as they explore and discover language. Children enjoy reading poetry, but in order for poetry to be effective, students must be instructed on how to read poetry. 

There is a definite relationship between poetry and reading. Poetry can help a child explore their feelings, make them laugh, and helps them to make personal connections to text. Through poetry students apply a wide range of reading strategies such as connecting background knowledge, creating visual imagery, inferring, making predictions, asking questions, etc. In addition, poetry opens the door to discussions about the author's purpose. Through poetry children grow as critical thinkers.



When selecting poems, think about the types of things that kids are interested in. Poetry should be exciting for kids. Try to find poems that kids can relate to. Poetry should cover a wide variety of subjects (friendship, school, family, pets, science, social studies, etc.).

Before placing a poem in the poetry center, introduce the poem by reading it aloud to the class. Discuss new vocabulary and build background knowledge. Encourage children to share their connections to the poem. 

Poetry can be read at any point during the school day (during morning meetings, before lunch, after recess, during math, reading, science, or social studies).


The Poetry Center


Poetry Center Procedures:

During centers, students rotate to the poetry center, which is set up on a  large pocket chart. The poetry center contains task cards that assist students in processing the selected poems or are based on a skills that can be applied to the poem. 

Located next to each task are pencils that indicate which tasks are to be completed for the poetry center (tasks change depending on the poem). Depending on the purpose of the poem or center, students may either choose a selected task or are required to complete all tasks cards selected.

Poetry Task Cards (PDF)


Poetry Notebooks

Where do children store their poems?

Each child has their own poetry notebook (a standard 70-count spiral notebook or a composition notebook). Poetry notebooks can be stored in the poetry center or at the child's desk.

Each child receives a copy of the poem printed on a half sheet of paper. The child glues their poem into their poetry notebook and then responds to the tasks on the opposite page.

It is best to have the poem and task opposite of each other so that students have access to the poem and do not have to flip back and forth between pages in order to view the poem or complete the task (see example below).


Glue the poem onto the left side of the paper

Complete task(s) on the right side of the paper

Why are poems typed on a half sheet of paper?

The half-sheet of paper saves paper and space in the student's poetry notebooks. When I find a poem, it is typed into a poetry template using Microsoft Word. The template is set up using landscape orientation so that there are two copies of the poem on the same page. The poem is copied and then cut in half so that each child will receive a half-sheet of paper containing the poem. This works really well and the children seem to respond well to the size of the paper (they think the poem is small).

Poetry Template (MS Word)


Poetry Activities

In addition to the task cards, there are many wonderful activities that can be done using poems:

  • Copy lines of a favorite poem onto sentence strips. Place the sentence strips in the poetry center and have students put the poem back together. They can use the copy of the original poem from their poetry notebook as a guide (place numbers on the back of each sentence strip for self-checking).

  • Students can use a T-Chart to compare the subject of two similar poems. Example: compare the similarities and/or differences of two poems about friendship.

  • Create fill-in-the-blank poems. Type up a poem and leave out adjectives or other parts of speech. Students fill-in-the-missing words and make their own hilarious poems.

  • Build fluency by having students work together to recite a favorite poem to the class or to another class within the school (kindergarten loves poetry).



Poetry Websites 


Poetry Teachers.com
A website designed for teachers. Find poetry lesson plans, activities, and links to hilarious children's poetry.


Poetry for Kids.com
Ken Nesbitt's poetry playground


Kidz Page
Poems about animals (written by kids)


Story It
Classic poems about animals and science themes


Fizzy, Funny, Fuzzy Poems for Kids
Poems for kids as well as audio poems


Poetry Types
A website that explains the different types of poetry.





This website is designed and maintained by Karen A. McDavid 2004.


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