Month: December 2012

How to Make a “Found Poem”

Visual artists sometimes talk about using “found objects” in their artwork. In other words, they collect interesting things during the course of a normal day (such as bus tickets, objects from nature, or a toy found on the street) and then find a way to incorporate those objects into their artwork.

Did you know that you can do the same thing with language? A “found poem” is created by collecting interesting text from the world around us and then using those words to make a poem. When you create poetry this way, you are acting like a documentary filmmaker—using scenes from real life to tell an interesting story.

Here are three simple and fun ways to create “found poetry” from the language that is all around you.

Classic Children’s Poetry on

For many years, I’ve wanted to add some of my favorite classic children’s poems to; the poems I read and had read to me as a child. I have always thought it would be a good idea to have an easy way for teachers, parents, and children to explore some of the most popular poems of the English language. Today, I finally accomplished that goal. now has a new Classics section where I have begun posting some of my favorite, and many of the most well-known poems written for children over the past few hundred years. For starters, these include such famous poems as Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky,” Clement Moore’s “A Visit from St. Nicholas,” and Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s “Casey at the Bat.” I have posted 15 poems to start, and will continue posting more classic poems weekly, with the hope of eventually having hundreds of classic poems for you to enjoy.

The Walrus and the Carpenter

Read and Rate Classic Poems

Even better, I have included the ability for readers to rate each poem (1-5 stars). The more highly-rated poems will appear at the top of the page, while the less popular poems will be farther down the page (or may get booted from the page altogether). This way you can easily see which poems are the most well-loved by readers, and even vote for your own favorites.

Suggest Your Favorite Classic Poems

Is there a classic children’s poem you would like to see added to the site? Send me an email and let me know, so I can be sure to post it.

Seven Ways to Encourage Your Child’s Interest in Writing

Boy WritingIf your child or teen has a burgeoning interest in being a writer, there are many ways to encourage this newfound interest. Here are seven suggestions for supporting the literary urge in young members of your family.

1: Offer your child fun writing tools

Your young poet or novelist will appreciate a field trip together to choose special writing tools. Depending on his or her personality, your child might prefer to write in a lined journal, in a blank art sketchbook, on monogrammed stationery, or even on neon-colored legal pads. He or she might like a set of colored gel pens, a set of fine-tipped Sharpie markers, or a fresh set of sharpened #2 pencils. See How to Start a Poetry Journal for ideas on different kinds of journals your child might prefer.

Some older kids or teens might prefer a digital environment for writing. But there are still ways to provide cool writing tools for a computer or mobile device. For example, you can download a free application at that is similar to Microsoft Word, but with a minimalist interface and relaxing music.

Children of all ages will enjoy seeing their finished poems or stories in print. It’s easy to create a poetry chapbook using a word processing program and your home printer. You can bind the book yourself with a hole punch and ribbon, or take it to a copy shop to be perfect-bound in order to look more like a “real book.”

How to Start a Poetry Journal

A journal is a place to express yourself, to record your thoughts, feelings and observations, and to cultivate your poetic style. The cool thing about your journal is that it’s yours. You can keep it secret or share it with your friends and family. You might even read some of your poetry out loud at a talent show or poetry jam. Whatever you decide to do with it, a daily poetry journal will keep you writing. And the more you write, the better writer you become!

Step One: Choose a journal that fits your style

Do you like to draw pictures and doodle around your poetry? If so, you might want a book with blank pages. Do you need help keeping your words in order? Then try a journal with lines, such as a spiral-bound notebook. If you write all day long whenever inspiration strikes, use a smaller book with a hard cover that you can tuck into your backpack, purse, or pocket.

Step Two: Organize your journal

While this is an important step, it will be different for everyone. You can divide your journal in several different ways:

  • Emotions: Joy, Anger, Sorrow, Humility, Pride
  • Seasons: Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall (add the different holidays within each season.)
  • Chronological: Just write the date at the top of the page.
  • Poetic Form: Acrostic, Cinquain, Clerihew, Diamante, Haiku, Limerick, Free Verse, etc.
  • Subject: Sports, Humor, Dance, Friends, Nature, School

Once you’ve decided how to organize your journal, use a paper clip, divider, sticky note, or colored tape to divide your sections. (You do not need to do this for a chronological journal.)

Step Three: Write!

Poetry Journal

Jot down interesting words, phrases, sentences, or feelings on the page before starting your poem. This provides a jumping-off point for your thoughts.

For example, today I heard someone say, “I can’t be late for the bus!” So, I wrote that sentence on the top of a page in my “School” section.

Next, write down words that have to do with your phrase. For mine, I chose: Run, shout, nervous, hurry, stop, fast, heartbeat, homework, driver, windows, ice, puddles, clock, time, and wheels.

Then, decide what type of poem you want to write. For this one, I selected free verse.

Finally, use some of the words on your page to write your poem.

Bus Stop
My heart beats
so fast.

The puddles are lakes,
my homework… wet.

The clock ticks
faster than my feet
can run.

I shout to the driver,

Wheels slow.
Take a breath.

I can’t be late for the bus.

Step Four: Keep it up!

It’s important to write in your journal on a regular basis. Finding a routine can help with that. Maybe you have quiet time at night before bed, when you’re riding on the bus, or at lunch break. Make it a part of your day, and soon you’ll have an entire journal full of incredible poetry!