Lesson 1: What Is Poetry?


Activity 1: Poetry Vocabulary

Materials: R is for Rhyme: A Poetry Alphabet by Judy Young
To better understand poetry and to write your own, you must understand the special terms associated with poetry. There are many special relationships and patterns within the words of a poem. On the "Poetry Vocabulary" pages, you will explore some of these relationships and patterns.
Student Activity Page
Student Activity Page
Review your child's responses to the sheets, "Poetry Vocabulary."

Answer Key:
  • Syllable: Your child should have marked the syllables in the line as follows: "The (1) butterfly (3) felt (1) freezing (2) wings (1)"
  • Line: Answers will vary
  • Stanza: Answers will vary
  • Couplet: If your child needs help finding a couplet, ask him to reread "G is for Ghazal."
  • Quatrain: Answers will vary but may include "Ballad of the Butterfly and the Rose," "How Would You Act," "Two Chains," "The Sweet Tooth Candy Shop," or any poem containing 4-line stanzas
  • Meter: The poem "Bluebird" does not have a rhythm pattern. Although the specific patterns of rhythm in a poem can be difficult for some students of this age to grasp, your child should be able to note that "Two Chains" has a regular, repeating pattern of rhythm and "Bluebird" does not.
  • Rhyming pattern: the last words in the poem's first and second lines should rhyme; the last words in the third and fourth lines should also rhyme
  • Weak rhyme: Refer to the pages for "W is for Weak Rhyme" in the book for more examples

Activity 2: Rhyming Patterns

To figure out the rhyming pattern of a poem, you assign a letter to each line of a poem. You start with "a" at the end of the first line. If the second line does not rhyme with the first, you would write down "b." If the third line does not rhyme with either the first or second line, you would write down "c." When two lines in a poem rhyme, they are given the same letter. The following stanza from the poem "How Would You Act?" (from "E is for End Rhyme") has an aabb pattern.
"How Would You Act?"
If you were a bird, (a)
You'd want to be heard. (a)
If you were a horse, (b)
You'd run, of course. (b)
Reread the poem and description for "E is for End Rhyme." Then follow the instructions on the "Rhyming Patterns" page to identify the rhyming patterns of three additional poems.
Student Activity Page
Answer Key:
  • "Two Chains" from "I is for Iambic" (abcb)
  • "Oh, Don't You Wish" from "K is for Kyrielle" (aabb)
  • "My Quilt" from "Q is for Quatrain" (abcb)