Acrostic Poems Lesson for Kids: Definition & Examples

Instructor: Heather Jenkins

Heather has a bachelor's degree in elementary education and a master's degree in special education. She was a public school teacher and administrator for 11 years.

There are many different types of poetry. One type of poetry focuses on using the letters of words to create a poem. In this lesson, you will learn all about acrostic poems.

Acrostic Poems

'Roses are red.

Violets are blue.

Sugar is sweet. And so are you.'

Oftentimes, when we think of poetry, we think of rhyming poems like this one. However, poetry can take many forms, with one poem often looking very different than another.

One type of poem, called an acrostic poem, uses the letters of a word or words to create a poem. Here, the letters of a specific word or words form the letters of other words, just like in a crossword puzzle. These poems can rhyme, but oftentimes do not. As far as we know, people have been writing acrostic poems since ancient Roman times.

The main idea of an acrostic poem, or what the poem is all about, is usually displayed in one or two words written vertically on the page. The poem could be about socks, rubbers ducks, macaroni and cheese...anything! Let's say you wanted to write a poem about unicorns. You would begin the poem by writing 'unicorns' from top to bottom like this:

U

N

I

C

O

R

N

S

In an acrostic poem, each letter of the main idea is then used to make another related word or phrase that is written horizontally. Oftentimes, these words are adjectives, which describe the person, place, or thing that the poem is about. For example, if you were writing a poem about unicorns, you could use the 'U' to write the adjective 'unique' since they are very majestic and imaginative-looking animals. The beginning of the acrostic poem would then look like this:

U nique

N

I

C

O

R

N

S

Would you like to go ahead and finish it?

Examples

This poem is an example of an acrostic poem about acrostic poems.

An example of an acrostic poem about acrostic poems
acrostic poem example

The main idea of the poem is acrostic. Each letter of the word is then used in other words or phrases about acrostic poems. For instance, the 'R' is used to tell the reader that acrostic poems can rhyme or not, and the 'C' is used to describe them as a cool idea. Can you think of any other words to describe acrostic poems that use the letters from the main idea?

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