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“My Favorite Things” Poetry Writing Lesson

What's Your Favorite Thing?

It’s famously said about writing that you should “write what you know.” Unfortunately, this can mean a lot of different things, and can be easily misunderstood. For example, you might think it means to only write about things you have actually experienced. But that would be like saying you can’t write about someone driving a car if you’ve never driven a car yourself. Obviously that doesn’t make sense.

So instead of telling kids to “write what you know,” I like to say that “the easiest thing to write about is your favorite thing,” because that is what you know the most about. If you love playing video games, you probably know a lot about them. If your favorite thing happens to be karate, or soccer, or pizza, you probably know a lot about that.

This doesn’t mean that your favorite thing is the only thing you should write about, but if you are ever stuck for an idea, just ask yourself what you like and then write a poem about it.

In fact, if you have a lot of things you like, you can even make a simple list poem of all of your favorite things. Here’s how.

I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room – Animated Video

“I Taught My Cat to Clean My Room” from the book My Hippo Has the Hiccups> is the first animated video I created on my own. I hope you enjoy it. I’m looking forward to creating more in the months to come.

Rhyming Animal Names

There have been many times that I have been writing a poem and needed a list of animal names that rhymed with one another. To make it easier, I have collected the following list of rhyming animal names. Feel free to use these in your own animal poems.

  • Alsatian / crustacean / dalmatian
  • Auk / hawk
  • Auks / fox / hawks / ox
  • Baboon / loon / raccoon
  • Bat / cat / gnat / rat
  • Beagle / eagle
  • Bear / hare / mare
  • Beaver / retriever / weaver
  • Bee / flea / manatee
  • Buck / duck / geoduck
  • Bug / pug / slug
  • Calf / giraffe
  • Camel / mammal
  • Caribou / cockatoo / ewe / gnu / kangaroo / shrew
  • Chick / tick
  • Clam / lamb / ram
  • Cockatiel / eel / seal
  • Cow / sow
  • Crow / doe
  • Deer / steer
  • Dog / frog / hog
  • Drake / snake
  • Eel / seal
  • Fawn / prawn / swan
  • Ferret / parrot
  • Fowl / owl
  • Germ / worm
  • Goose / moose
  • Grouse / louse / mouse
  • Guppy / puppy
  • Hen / wren
  • Jay / ray
  • Lark / shark
  • Lynx / minks / skinks
  • Man / orangutan
  • Mink / skink
  • Mole / vole
  • Moth / sloth
  • Nag / stag
  • Quail / snail / whale

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

Body Parts that Rhyme

It has happened more than once that I have needed to rhyme various parts of human or animal anatomy – body parts – in a poem. Here is the list that I refer to when I need it. I hope you find it useful as well.

  • Back / crack
  • Beak / cheek / physique
  • Biceps / triceps
  • Bum / gum / thumb / tum
  • Claw / jaw / maw / paw
  • Clothes / nose / toes
  • Chin / grin / shin / skin
  • Ear / rear / sneer
  • Eye / thigh
  • Eyelash / moustache
  • Feet / seat
  • Fist / wrist
  • Groin / loin
  • Gut / butt
  • Hide / inside / side
  • Hip / lip / fingertip
  • Lung / tongue
  • Nail / tail

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

First Names that Rhyme

Often when writing a poem, I find it’s handy to have a list of first names that rhyme with one another. Here are some common first names that rhyme that you could use in your own poems:

  • Aaron / Erin / Karen / Sharon
  • Adele / Belle / Darnell / Danielle / Giselle / Manuel / Marcel / Michelle / Miguel / Nell / Rachelle / Raquel
  • Andy / Brandy / Mandy / Randy / Sandy
  • Ann / Cheyenne / Dan / Fran / Jan / Luann / Nan / Roseann / Stan
  • Anna / Brianna / Hannah / Savanna
  • Annie / Danny / Fanny / Frannie / Manny
  • Bailey / Haley / Kaylie
  • Barry / Gary / Harry / Jerry / Keri / Larry / Mary / Perry / Sheri / Terri
  • Belinda / Linda / Lucinda / Melinda
  • Ben / Glenn / Gwen / Jen / Ken / Len
  • Benny / Denny / Jenny / Kenny / Lenny / Penny
  • Bernise / Clarice / Denise / Elise / Luis / Maurice / Reese
  • Bert / Kurt
  • Bill / Jill / Phil / Will
  • Billy / Lily / Willy
  • Bo / Flo / Joe / Moe
  • Bob / Rob
  • Bobby / Robbie
  • Bonnie / Connie / Donny / Johnny / Lonnie / Ronnie / Tawny
  • Boris / Doris / Horace / Morris
  • Braden / Hayden / Jaden
  • Brandon / Landon
  • Bree / Dee / Lee / Marie
  • Brynn / Flynn / Gwyn / Lynn / Quinn
  • Brody / Cody / Dodi / Jodie
  • Chloe / Joey / Zoe
  • Charlene / Christine / Colleen / Dean / Eileen /  Eugene / Francine / Irene / Janine / Jean / Kathleen / Maureen / Maxine / Nadine / Pauline
  • Cindy / Mindy
  • Clancy / Nancy
  • Clarence / Terrence
  • Clark / Mark
  • Corey / Dory / Laurie / Morrie / Tori
  • Daniel / Nathaniel
  • Dawn / Don / Fawn / John / Lon / Ron / Sean / Vaughn
  • Dick / Mick / Nick / Rick / Vic
  • Dolly / Holly / Molly / Ollie / Paulie / Wally
  • Drew / Lou / Hugh / Stu / Sue
  • Ed / Fred / Jed / Ned / Red / Ted
  • Eddie / Freddie / Teddy
  • Faye / Jay / Kay / Mae / Ray / Trey
  • Florence / Lawrence
  • Ginnie / Minnie / Vinnie / Winnie
  • Jack / Mac / Zach
  • Jim / Kim / Tim
  • Jimmy / Timmy
  • Joan / Sloan
  • Joni / Tony
  • Kendall / Wendell
  • Kiley / Miley / Riley / Wylie
  • Matt / Pat
  • Mickey / Nikki / Ricky
  • Pam / Sam
  • Paul / Saul
  • Thelma / Velma

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

Rhyming Foods List

If you ever find yourself writing a poem that involves food, especially a list poem, you may find it helpful to have a list of foods that rhyme with one another. Here are some common ones that you could use:

  • Alfredo / potato / tomato
  • Apple / scrapple / Snapple
  • Artichoke / Coke / egg yolk
  • Baloney / cannelloni / macaroni / minestrone / rigatoni / pepperoni
  • Beans / greens / sardines / tangerines
  • Beet / meat / sweet / treat / wheat
  • Beef / leaf
  • Beef jerky / tofurkey / turkey
  • Berry / cherry / dairy
  • Blini / fettuccine / linguine / martini / panini / tortellini / zucchini
  • Bread / sandwich spread
  • Burritos / Cheetos / Doritos / Fritos / Tostitos
  • Butter brickle / pickle
  • Cake / shake / steak
  • Candy cane / grain / sugar cane
  • Cannoli / guacamole / ravioli / stromboli
  • Casserole / fillet of sole / roll
  • Chai / fry / pie / rye
  • Cheese / peas
  • Chex mix / Hickory Sticks / Kix / Pixie Stix / Trix / Twix
  • Chicken legs / eggs
  • Chicken wings / onion rings
  • Chip / dip / licorice whip
  • Clam / ham / jam / lamb / Spam / yam
  • Crème brûlée / curds and whey / fish fillet / Milky Way / parfait / pâté / puree / sorbet / souffle
  • Crepe / grape
  • Crumb / gum / plum
  • Crunch ‘n Munch / Nestles Crunch / punch
  • Coffee / toffee
  • Cookie dough / sloppy joe
  • Custard / mustard
  • Empanada / enchilada / tostada
  • Fajita / margarita / pita / Velveeta
  • Falafel / Offal / Waffle
  • Fondue / Mountain Dew / stew
  • Fries / pies
  • Fruits / roots / shoots
  • Glaze / maize / mayonnaise
  • Goose / juice / mousse
  • Gummi bears / pears
  • Ice / rice / spice
  • Jell-o / Mello Yello
  • Lemon drops / lollipops / Tootsie pops
  • Lime / thyme
  • Noodle / strudel
  • Pastrami / salami
  • Quesadilla / tortilla
  • Roast / toast

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

Lists of Words that Rhyme

Lists of Words that Rhyme

While a rhyming dictionary is always a handy tool to have when writing poems, sometimes it’s also helpful to have lists of rhyming words that are all in the same category. Here are a few lists of rhyming words that I have created. I hope you will find them useful in your own poetry.

Rhyming Words Lists

Sea Star Wishes: Poems From the Coast by Eric Ode

Sea Star Wishes: Poems From the Coast by Eric Ode

As Children’s Poet Laureate, one of my jobs is to select a collection of poetry each month to feature on the Poetry Foundation’s website. There you’ll find my monthly book picks, and those of the previous Children’s Poets Laureate.

My pick for July, 2013 is Sea Star Wishes: Poems from the Coast by Eric Ode, Illustrated by Erik Brooks.

In addition, I interviewed Erik Ode about his life as a poet and about his new book. Here is what he had to say.