Category: Lessons

List of Rhyming Letters and Numbers

More than once, I have found myself writing a poem where I needed to rhyme letters of the alphabet, or numbers, or both. For example, my poems Swimming Ool and Alphabet Break both rhyme letters of the alphabet with one another. If you ever find yourself writing a poem where you are rhyming letters or numbers, this short list might be useful to you.

  • A / J / K
  • B / C / D / E / G / P / T / V / Z / 3
  • I / Y
  • Q / U / 2
  • 7 / 11

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

Words and Phrases that Rhyme with Themselves

Sometimes when you’re writing a rhyming poem, you may want to include a word or phrase that rhymes with itself, such as itsy-bitsy or super-duper. Also called “close rhymes,” these are what are known as “reduplicated” words or phrases. “Reduplication” is the term for words or phrases that are created by repeating sounds. Here is a list of rhyming reduplicated words and phrases that may come in handy to you sometime.

  • abracadabra
  • argle-bargle
  • argy-bargy
  • artsy-fartsy
  • backpack
  • backtrack
  • bandstand
  • bed head
  • bees knees
  • big rig
  • bigwig
  • blackjack
  • blame game
  • blues clues
  • bolo
  • booboo
  • boo-hoo
  • boogieboogie to dance energetically, especially to rock music.-woogie
  • boot scoot
  • bowwow
  • boy toy
  • brain drain
  • bucket truck
  • bye-bye
  • chick-flick
  • chilly willy
  • chip dip
  • chock-a-block
  • chop shop
  • chug-a-lug
  • chunky monkey
  • claptrap
  • clean green
  • cookbook
  • crop top
  • cuddly-wuddly
  • cutie patootie
  • deadhead
  • ding-a-ling
  • ditch witch
  • double bubble
  • double trouble
  • downtown
  • easy cheese
  • easy-peasey
  • eency-weency
  • even-steven
  • fancy nancy
  • fancy-schmancy
  • fat cat
  • fender-bender
  • fiddle diddle
  • fight or flight
  • fit bit
  • flyby
  • fright night
  • froufrou
  • fuddy-duddy
  • fun run
  • fuzzy-wuzzy
  • gogo
  • go low
  • go pro
  • go slow
  • great state
  • green bean
  • ground round
  • haha
  • handstand
  • handy-dandy
  • hanky-panky
  • harum-scarum
  • heart smart
  • heebie-jeebies
  • helter skelter
  • heyday
  • hi-fi
  • higgledy-piggledy
  • high and dry
  • high fly
  • hippy-dippy
  • hobnob
  • hobo
  • hocus-pocus
  • hoddy-noddy
  • hodgepodge
  • hoi polloi
  • hoity-toity
  • hokey-pokey
  • holy cannoli
  • holy moly
  • hong kong
  • hoodoo
  • hooley-dooley
  • hot pot
  • hotshot
  • hotspot
  • hotsy-totsy
  • hubbub
  • huffing and puffing
  • hugger-mugger
  • hulu
  • humdrum
  • humpty dumpty
  • hurdy-gurdy
  • hurly-burly
  • hurry-scurry
  • hustle and bustle
  • itsy-bitsy
  • itty-bitty
  • jeepers creepers
  • jelly belly
  • jet set
  • kowtow
  • laffy taffy
  • lardy-dardy
  • lean and mean
  • lite brite
  • loosey-goosey
  • lovey-dovey
  • low and slow
  • low blow
  • low-flow
  • mama
  • mai tai
  • maintain
  • make or break
  • mars bars
  • mayday
  • melee
  • mellow yellow
  • might makes right
  • mojo
  • mukluk
  • mumbo-jumbo
  • namby-pamby
  • name game
  • naysay
  • night-light
  • night-night
  • nighty-night
  • nitty-gritty
  • nitwit
  • no-go
  • no-no
  • no-show
  • nutter butter
  • oingo boingo
  • okey dokey
  • one-ton
  • out and about
  • pall mall
  • papa
  • payday
  • pedal to the metal
  • pell-mell
  • phony-baloney
  • pickwick
  • picnic
  • pie in the sky
  • piggly wiggly
  • plain jane
  • polo
  • pooper scooper
  • pop-top
  • powwow
  • prime-time
  • pump and dump
  • quick pick
  • quiet riot
  • quite a sight
  • ragtag
  • rat-a-tat
  • razzle-dazzle
  • razzmatazz
  • reese’s pieces
  • righty tighty
  • ring ding
  • rinky-dink
  • roly-poly
  • rom-com
  • rootin’ tootin’
  • rough and tough
  • rough stuff
  • scat cat
  • shake and bake
  • shock jock
  • shoe goo
  • shout out
  • silly-willy
  • single mingle
  • sky high
  • slim jim
  • sloppy copy
  • slow-mo
  • snack pack
  • snail mail
  • snow blow
  • soho
  • solo
  • space case
  • space race
  • spruce goose
  • steak ‘n shake
  • stop and shop
  • study buddy
  • stun gun
  • sump pump
  • super-duper
  • tee-hee
  • teen scene
  • teenie-weenie
  • teensy-weensy
  • tepee
  • tex-mex
  • thin skin
  • tighty-whitey
  • tinky winky
  • tohubohu
  • tramp stamp
  • true blue
  • turkey jerky
  • tutti frutti
  • tutu
  • TV
  • undone
  • voodoo
  • wall ball
  • walkie-talkie
  • waylay
  • wear and tear
  • white flight
  • white knight
  • wi-fi
  • willy-nilly
  • wing-ding
  • without a doubt
  • wonton
  • word nerd
  • yolo

Non-Rhyming Reduplicated Words and Phrases

Some reduplicated words and phrases don’t quite rhyme because they contain different vowel sounds, such as ping-pong or zigzag. Technically, these are known as “ablaut reduplications.” Here is a list of reduplicated words and phrases that don’t rhyme.

  • bric-a-brac
  • chit-chat
  • clip-clop
  • criss-cross
  • dig dug
  • dilly-dally
  • ding-dong
  • fiddle faddle
  • flimflam
  • flip-flop
  • hee-haw
  • hip hop
  • jibber-jabber
  • jingle-jangle
  • king kong
  • kit kat
  • kitty cat
  • knickknack / nicknack
  • mishmash
  • ping-pong
  • pitter-patter
  • riffraff
  • seesaw
  • shilly-shally
  • shipshape
  • singsong
  • skimble-scamble
  • splish splash
  • teeny tiny
  • teetertotter
  • tic-tac
  • tick-tock
  • tip-top
  • tittle-tattle
  • wibble-wobble
  • wiggle-waggle
  • wishy-washy
  • zigzag

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

How to Write a Tongue Twister

Tongue twisters are one of the most fun forms of wordplay for kids. The more challenging they are to speak, the more fun they can be. Most tongue twisters take one of three forms:

  1. Phrases that are hard to repeat several times in a row, such as “toy boat” or “unique New York.”
  2. Phrases or sentences that are hard to say, such as “she sells sea shells by the seashore” or “rubber baby buggy bumpers.”
  3. Poems like “Betty Botter” by Carolyn Wells.

You can create your own tongue twisters too. All you need is a pencil and paper, and a little imagination. Let me show you how.

List of Rhyming Sports and Games

If you are writing a poem, especially a list poem, that includes games or sports, you may find it useful to have a list of names of sports and games that rhyme. Here are a few that I have collected. These include sports, board games, card games, party games, and video games.

  • baton twirling / curling / hurling
  • bench press / chess
  • biking / hiking
  • blackjack / hacky sack / track / You Don’t Know Jack
  • Blockade / Old Maid
  • Candyland / marching band
  • canoeing / crewing / snowshoeing
  • capture the flag / tag
  • cheering / mountaineering / orienteering
  • Civilization / Operation / recreation
  • Clue / Taboo
  • dancing / lancing
  • decathlon / marathon / pentathlon / Pokémon / Settlers of Catan / triathlon
  • diving / driving
  • Donkey Kong / mahjong
  • gliding / riding / sliding
  • Go / hammer throw / javelin throw / kenpo / Pokémon Go / taekwondotaekwondo a Korean martial art, a particularly aggressive form of karate, that utilizes punches, jabs, chops, blocking and choking moves, and especially powerful, leaping kicks.
  • hockey / jockey
  • judo / Ludo
  • kickball / stickball
  • kick the can / Pac-Man
  • lacrosse / motocross / ring toss
  • polo / flying solo
  • rafting / crafting
  • race / steeplechase
  • rings / swings
  • rowing / throwing
  • skis / trapeze
  • sledding / shredding
  • t-ball / skeeball
  • truth or dare / WarioWare / We Dare

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

How to Write a Traditional Nursery Rhyme

Humpty Dumpty

Some of the best known children’s poetry in the English language are the “nursery rhymes” of Mother Goose. Though no one knows for certain if Mother Goose was a real person, her rhymes have been popular with young children since the 1600’s. Some of the most popular Mother Goose rhymes include “Humpty Dumpty,” “Hey, Diddle Diddle,” “Little Bo Peep,” “Peter Peter Pumpkin Eater,” and many others. In fact, Mother Goose is credited with writing several hundred nursery rhymes.

But did you know that Mother Goose isn’t the only writer of nursery rhymes? “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” was written by an English woman named Jane Taylor. Many of the short nonsense poems of Edward Lear would qualify as nursery rhymes. And some, such as “The Itsy-Bitsy Spider” are “traditional,” meaning we don’t know who wrote them.

In the past few decades, a number of children’s poets have also begun writing new nursery rhymes. For example, Canadian poet Dennis Lee has authored a number of books, including Alligator Pie, Jelly Belly, and Bubblegum Delicious, that are filled with new nursery rhymes. American poet Jack Prelutsky followed suit with books such as Ride a Purple PelicanBeneath a Blue Umbrella, and The Frogs Wore Red Suspenders.

Many authors have even started writing funny “fractured” nursery rhymes, taking well-known Mother Goose poems and updating them with humor and modern ideas.

In fact, even you can write your own new nursery rhymes, and it’s not that hard. All you need is a pencil, a piece of paper, a little time, and your imagination.

Rhyming Cities, States, Countries

Rhyming Places List

If you ever find yourself writing a poem that involves geographical locations — cities, states, countries, etc. — you may find it helpful to have a list of places that rhyme with one another. Here are some that you could use:

  • Alaska / Nebraska
  • Albania / Lithuania / Mauritania / Pennsylvania / Romania / Tasmania / Transylvania
  • Algeria / Assyria / Iberia / Liberia / Nigeria / Siberia / Syria
  • Altoona / Laguna
  • Anapolis / Indianapolis / Minneapolis
  • Anatolia / Mongolia
  • Andorra / Aurora / Sonora
  • Angola / Hispaniola / Pensacola
  • Arizona / Barcelona / Daytona / Pomona / Ramona / Verona
  • Armenia / Sardinia / Slovenia
  • Aruba / Cuba / Dinuba
  • Asia / Australasia / Eurasia / Malaysia
  • Astoria / Peoria / Pretoria / Victoria
  • Austin / Boston
  • Australia / Vidalia / Visalia / Westphalia
  • Azerbaijan / Bhutan / Ceylon / Iran / Kazakhstan / Milan / Oman / San Juan / Saigon / Taiwan / Tehran
  • Bahrain / Biscayne / Champlain / Fort Wayne / Maine / Spain / Ukraine
  • Baku / Guangzhou / Kalamazoo / Kathmandu / Peru / Thimphu / Timbuktu
  • Bali / Raleigh
  • Bavaria / Bulgaria
  • Bombay / L.A. / Malay / Monterey / Saint Tropez / San Jose / Santa Fe / USA
  • Botswana / Ghana / Guyana / Tijuana
  • Brazil / Capitol Hill / Seville
  • Bruges / Baton Rouge
  • Brunei / Chennai / Dubai / Mumbai / Shanghai / Uruguay / Versailles
  • Caledonia / Catalonia / Estonia / Macedonia / Patagonia / Slavonia
  • Casablanca / Sri Lanka
  • Chicago / Santiago
  • China / Indochina / North Carolina / South Carolina
  • County Cork / New York
  • Copacabana / Fontana / Indiana / Louisiana / Montana / Santa Ana / Savannah / Susquehanna
  • Crimea / Eritrea / Korea / Sofia / Tanzania
  • Gambia / Zambia
  • Goa / Krakatoa / Samoa
  • Gobi / Lake Okeechobee / Nairobi
  • Greece / Nice / Tunis
  • Illinois / Troy
  • Indonesia / Micronesia / Polynesia / Rhodesia / Tunisia
  • Isle of Capri / Tennessee / Waikiki / Washington D.C.
  • Isle of Man / Cannes / Japan / Saipan / Spokane / Sudan
  • Jakarta / Puerto Vallarta / Sparta
  • Libya / Namibia
  • Malta / Yalta
  • Martinique / Mozambique
  • Milwaukee / Nagasaki
  • Minnesota / North Dakota / Sarasota / South Dakota
  • Montreal / Nepal / Senegal
  • North Pole / Seoul / South Pole
  • Oklahoma / Point Loma / Sonoma / Tacoma
  • Prussia / Russia
  • Reno / San Bernardino / San Marino / Torino
  • Rwanda / Uganda
  • Serbia / Suburbia

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

Five Ways to Overcome Writer’s Block

How to overcome writer's block

“Writer’s block” is an expression that describes how it feels when it seems like you can’t write. Maybe you’re working on a particular poem and then you just start to feel stuck, not knowing how to finish it. Or maybe you sit down to write and you just can’t think of anything at all to write about. Either way, writer’s block can feel pretty discouraging.

The good news is that there are lots of easy ways to break free from writer’s block and start writing again. Next time you feel blocked, give one of these tips a try:

1. Get Goofy

Writer’s block can make you feel very serious, so one way to break free is to get silly. Try to write the most awful, ridiculous poem in the world. Write a poem complaining about how you can’t possibly write a poem right now because of all your terrible problems. Or write your poem from the point of view of your dog, or your lunch, or the dust bunnies under your bed.

2. Make a List

Sometimes it helps to forget about writing in a poetry format for a while. Instead, just list all the things you want someone to know about what your poem will be like after you write it. Or, if you don’t like making lists, just start writing or typing the words “This poem is going to be about…” and then finish the sentence. Try to keep writing without stopping for at least five minutes. When you’re done, you’ll have lots of ideas about how to finish your poem.

3. Try Something Different

Maybe you need a totally different way to write for a while. Instead of writing a free verse poem, try your hand at rhyming couplets. Or instead of sitting at your desk to write, stand up. If you’re really stuck, stand on one foot, or write with the opposite hand for a change. Or get outside of your usual writing place to sit in a park, in the passenger seat of a car, or in a bookstore or library.

4. Go for a Walk

Physical activity is really good for busting you out of a writing rut and resetting your brain. So is a change of scene! You can go for a walk in your neighborhood, or take a bike ride, or jump on a trampoline, or even take a dance break—anything to get your body moving and distract your brain. You can come back to your writing in a few minutes, or even another day, and you’ll have fresh ideas.

5. Be a Reader Instead

Sometimes you can take the pressure off and inspire yourself at the same time. How? By picking up another writer’s work and enjoying it. It doesn’t even have to be poetry. You could read a short story, a graphic novel, or any kind of writing that reminds your brain what great writing can do. Reading can be a great warm-up for anytime you want to write a poem, or it can be a break from writing when your mind feels stuck.

Need More Ideas for Overcoming Writer’s Block?

StudyCorgi.com has an excellent article/infographic entitled “Beating Writer’s Block: 11 Awesome Tips” with even more suggestions on ways to break through your writer’s block.

No matter what you decide to try for your writer’s block, keep in mind that the best way to get un-stuck is to do something different. Start anywhere! Even a very small change can help a lot, and you’ll be writing poems again in no time.

Rhythm in Poetry – Okie Dokie, Here’s the Trochee

Edgar Allan Poe

In the last Rhythm in Poetry lesson, we talked about the “iamb,” a two-syllable poetic foot with the stress on the second syllable. The reverse of the iamb is called the “trochee” (pronounced TRO-kee). Like the iamb, the trochee is a two-syllable foot. But instead of being stressed on the second syllable, trochees are stressed on the first syllable. For example, the word “today” is an iamb because we emphasize the “day” not the “to.” (That is, we say “to-DAY,” not ‘TO-day.”) But the word “candy” is a trochee, because we emphasize the “can” and not the “dy.” (It’s pronounced “CAN-dee,” not “can-DEE.”) Look at it like this:

Rhyming Musical Instruments and Terms

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

  • Autoharp / harp / sharp
  • Bach / rock
  • Band / baby grand / band stand / grand / music stand
  • Bang / clang / rang / sang
  • Baritone / microphone / saxophone / tone / trombone / xylophone
  • Bass / instrument case
  • Blare / snare
  • Bong / gong / singalong / song
  • Cacophony / euphony / key of C / symphony / tympani
  • Castanet / clarinet / cornet / duet / minuet / quartet
  • Chime / rhyme / time
  • Choir / lyre
  • Chord / record / musically scored
  • Clap / rap / tap
  • Cymbal / timbal
  • Drum / harmonium / hum / strum
  • Flat / high hat / rat-a-tat / scat
  • Flute / lute / toot
  • Glide / elide
  • Group / music loop / troupe
  • Guitar / rock star / sitar
  • Hear / play by ear
  • Juke / uke
  • Mandolin / violin
  • Nat King Cole / rock-n-roll
  • Note / throat
  • Piano / soprano
  • Pianola / Victrola / viola
  • Psalm / tom
  • Ring / sing / string / swing

Click here for other lists of rhyming words.

 

How to Write an “I Can’t Write a Poem” Poem

I Can't Write a Poem

Here’s a type of poem that absolutely anybody can write, even if you’re sure that you have no idea how to write a poem. That’s because it’s a poem about not being able to write a poem! You won’t even have to think up a title for this poem, since you can use the very first line as the title.

The key to success in writing this type of poem is to let your imagination go wild. Your poem might start off with an ordinary excuse, but as the poem goes on, the excuse can get crazier and crazier.

Here are a few different first lines you could use to begin your poem: