What is an Acrostic?
Acrostics are a fun poetic form that anyone can write. They have just a few simple rules, and this lesson will teach you how to create acrostic poems of your own.
To begin with, an acrostic is a poem in which the first letters of each line spell out a word or phrase. The word or phrase can be a name, a thing, or whatever you like. When children write acrostics, they will often use their own first name, or sometimes the first name of a friend.
Usually, the first letter of each line is capitalized. This makes it easier to see the word spelled out vertically down the page.
Acrostics are easy to write because they don’t need to rhyme, and you don’t need to worry about the rhythm of the lines. Each line can be as long or as short as you want it to be.
Creating an Acrostic in Five Easy Steps
To create an acrostic, follow these five easy steps:
- Decide what to write about.
- Write your word down vertically.
- Brainstorm words or phrases that describe your idea.
- Place your brainstormed words or phrases on the lines that begin with the same letters.
- Fill in the rest of the lines to create a poem.
Now let me show you how to follow these steps.
The first step is to decide what you would like to write an acrostic poem about. I recommend you start by writing an acrostic based on your name or on your favorite thing, whatever that happens to be. It doesn’t matter if your favorite thing is soccer, video games, chocolate, music, pizza, movies, or anything else.
An Ice Cream Acrostic
For example, I especially like ice cream, so I decided to write an acrostic about ice cream. Begin by writing the word “ICE CREAM” down the page like this:
Next, you want to say something about ice cream in each line. A good way to do this is to “brainstorm” lots of ideas. I wrote down a list of all the ice cream flavors I could think of, including chocolate chip, strawberry, rocky road, and others. Then I put them in a list wherever they would fit, like this:
Cookies & Cream.
You’ll notice that I didn’t fill in all of the lines. That’s because I couldn’t think of a flavor that started with “I” and I could only think of one flavor that started with “E.” Also, I thought I would do something different with the last line, to make it an ending for the poem, rather than just another flavor.
Finally, I filled in the missing lines, like this:
I love every flavor.
Cookies & Cream.
Even Strawberry and
Now, just as you can write acrostics about things you like, you can also write them about things you don’t like, such as chores, homework, and so on. Here is an example acrostic about homework.
A Homework Acrostic
In addition to writing about things you like, such as ice cream, you can write acrostics about things you don’t like. For example, if you don’t like homework, you might try writing a poem about it. Begin by writing the word “HOMEWORK” down the page:
Next, brainstorm as many words and phrases as you can think of. Here are some I came up with:
Reading for hours. Writing. Not my favorite. Every Day. I’d rather be watching TV. Makes me crazy. Overwhelming. Hard to do.
Notice that some of these words and phrases begin with the letters in the word “homework.” I put these ones in where I saw they would go:
Hard to do
Reading for hours.
Finally, I found a way to fill in the rest of the words, and even give it an ending. Here is the finished acrostic:
Hard to do and sometimes
My teacher gives us homework
Every single day!
Writing for hours
Reading for hours.
Kids need a break!
A Minecraft Acrostic
Here’s one more acrostic poem I created recently with the help of kids from all around the country during an online author visit:
I love it.
No doubt about it.
Exploring, building, fighting
Creepers, zombies, and skeletons.
Roaming around for hours.
Time for everyone!
Things to Remember
Here are a few things to remember as you begin writing your own acrostics:
- Acrostics can be about anything!
- Names are a common topic. Try writing one using your best friend’s name and giving it to him or her as a gift.
- You can use single words, phrases, or even full sentences in your acrostic poem.
Finally, remember, acrostic poems are one of the easiest and most fun ways to create poems of your own. Give it a try and see what you can come up with.
Video poetry-writing lesson
Here is a video version of this lesson as well for those who are more visual and auditory learners. Enjoy!