Types of Poetry: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Mel Green

Mel has taught elementary, special education and high school english. She has a master's degree in education.

A poem is just something that rhymes right? Wrong! In poetry, words are put together in a unique, rhythmic way. In this lesson, we will learn about three types - acrostic, limerick and haiku poetry. Spoiler alert... Not all of them rhyme!

Acrostic Poetry

A type of poem that can help you with spelling? Isn't that fantastic? In acrostic poetry, the first, last or other letters in a line spell out a particular word. The word chosen is usually the theme of the poem. A theme is an idea or feeling about a subject.

In this acrostic poem, the first letters of each line spell out the word. This is the most simple type of acrostic poem. Have a look:

First of line Acrostic poem example

In this poem, the last letter of each line spells out the theme word:

End-of-line Acrostic poem

Probably the most difficult to write, this next type of acrostic poem is the type in which the letters in the middle spell out the theme word:

Middle-of-the-line Acrostic Poem

Challenge yourself to write an acrostic poem. You could use your name as the theme or find a word in the dictionary.

Limerick Poetry

Now time for a type of poem that helps you with your sense of humor and rhythm! Limericks are funny and have a clear, strong beat and tell stories. A limerick usually follows this structure:

  • The first line usually begins with There was a... and ends with either a name, place or person.
  • A limerick has a rhyme scheme of AABBA, which is a way of describing the pattern of rhymes at the end of each line in a poem. Lines 1, 2 and 5 should rhyme (shown as A) and lines 3 and 4 should rhyme (shown as B).
  • Finally, lines 1, 2 and 5 should have around 7 to 10 syllables and lines 3 and 4 should have around 5 to 7 syllables. A syllable is the way we split words into speech sounds. For example, the word cat has one syllable. The word garden has two.
  • The last line of a limerick is normally a surprise, acting like the 'punchline' of a joke.

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear
Edward Lear

Limericks were made famous by the poet Edward Lear, who wrote a collection of them in his A Book of Nonsense in the 1800s.

Here's one from the book:

There was an Old Man with a Beard by Edward Lear

Try writing your own. They aren't as easy as they look!

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