Tag: poetry

How to Write an Acrostic Poem

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:

  1. Decide what to write about.
  2. Write your word down vertically.
  3. Brainstorm words or phrases that describe your idea.
  4. Place your brainstormed words or phrases on the lines that begin with the same letters.
  5. 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:

I
C
E 

C
R
E
A
M

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:

Ice Cream

I
Cookies & Cream.
English Toffee.

Chocolate Chip.
Rocky Road.
E
Almond Fudge.
M

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:

Ice Cream

I love every flavor.
Cookies & Cream.
English Toffee.

Chocolate Chip.
Rocky Road.
Even Strawberry and
Almond Fudge.
Mmmmmmmm.

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

Begin by writing the word “HOMEWORK” down the page:

H
O
M
E
W
O
R
K

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:

Homework

Hard to do
Overwhelming,
M
Every day
Writing
O
Reading for hours.
K

Finally, I found a way to fill in the rest of the words, and even give it an ending. Here is the finished acrostic:

Homework

Hard to do and sometimes
Overwhelming,
My teacher gives us homework
Every single day!
Writing for hours
Or
Reading for hours.
Kids need a break!

Things to Remember

Here are a few things to remember as you begin writing your own acrostics:

  1. Acrostics can be about anything!
  2. Names are a common topic. Try writing one using your best friend’s name and giving it to him or her as a gift.
  3. 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!

Recipe for Disaster

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A box of melted crayons.
A cup of Elmer’s glue.
A pint of watercolor paint.
Some Silly Putty too.

A half a pound of Play-Doh.
About a pint of paste.
A tablespoon of flubber
to improve the final taste.

I looked through all the cupboards
for things I could include.
If it was marked “Non-Toxic”
I just figured that meant “food.”

To guarantee it’s healthy
I topped it with a beet.
Then smashed it all together
so it should be good to eat.

I’m hoping that you’ll try it
and tell me what you think.
Just close your eyes and open wide
and nevermind the stink.

–Kenn Nesbitt

An Interview with Children’s Author/Poet Lee Bennett Hopkins

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Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee Bennett Hopkins

Lee Bennett Hopkins is an award-winning children’s author, poet, anthologist, and editor, and a lifelong promoter of poetry for children. I had the honor of speaking with him recently about his career, his books, and his thoughts about children’s poetry. You can listen to the interview here on the Poetry4kids Podcast.

Our Teacher Sings the Beatles

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Our teacher sings The Beatles.
She must know every song.
We ask her please to stop
but she just sings, “It Won’t Be Long.”

And then she croons like Elvis.
She clearly thinks it’s cool.
And if we beg her not to
she just belts out, “Don’t be Cruel.”

She then does Michael Jackson.
It drives us nearly mad.
We have to cover up our ears
because she’s singing, “Bad.”

She winds up with The Wiggles
or else a Barney song,
and, even worse, she tells us all
that we should sing along.

It’s all my fault she does this.
I feel like such a fool.
I wish I’d never brought
my karaoke box to school.

–Kenn Nesbitt

The Gift of Personal Poetry

The Gift of Personal Poetry

The holidays are almost upon us, and of course, our thoughts turn to gifts and giving, and giving thanks. For most kids, it’s all about what they’ll be getting under the tree, and not often about what they can give to others. And yet, ask any parent what the most precious gift they ever received from a child was, and they’ll remember a handmade card, a drawing, a letter, or a poem. This season gives you a wonderful opportunity to use poetry to help children create a lasting, memorable gift for the people that they love. I’d like to give you a few pointers for poetry projects that translate well into family gifts.

The Dragons of Monster Town

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The dragons run the fire department
down in Monster Town.
They’re Johnny-on-the-spot
when there’s a building burning down.

They carry ropes and hoses.
They have buckets full of sand,
which, every afternoon, they practice
passing hand to hand.

They’ve got a truck and ladder,
and a siren they can blare.
They’ve even got protective hats
and boots and underwear.

But every time that there’s a fire
they stand around and pout.
Unfortunately, dragons stink
at putting fires OUT.

–Kenn Nesbitt

Melvin the Mummy

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Melvin the mummy, who lived near the Nile,
had worked as a mummy for more than a while,
for mummies can go their entire careers
without a vacation for thousands of years.

He guarded the pyramids day after day
to frighten the burglars and bandits away,
which meant, as he stood watching over the pharaohs,
he often got shot at with bullets and arrows.

His job was so stressful, the pay was so poor,
but, still, Melvin stayed and protected the door.
Until he got sick of his sad situation
and knew that he needed to take a vacation.

His crypt was so dark and so cold and so clammy,
he packed up his swimsuit and flew to Miami.
He thought he would stay there for just a few days,
enjoying the beach and absorbing some rays.

But, sadly, poor Melvin would never return,
and this is a lesson all mummies should learn:
Don’t take any trips or, like Melvin, you’ll find
vacations make mummies relax and unwind.

–Kenn Nesbitt

Boney Mahoney

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I’m Boney Mahoney,
the Skeleton Singer.
I’m known for harmonious tones.
I’ll croon to the tune of
a jaw harp or hand drum.
I’ll trill to the sound of trombones.

To have me start humming
just tickle the ivories.
I’ll sing if you finger a bell.
I’ll rap if you slap at
a washboard or rattle.
I’m hip to the nose flute as well.

If you’re a musician
in search of a singer
just give me a telebone call.
But find someone else if
you only play organ;
I don’t sing with organs at all.

–Kenn Nesbitt

My Brother is Still in His Bedroom

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“My brother is still in his bedroom.
No doubt he’ll be getting up soon.
But last night he stayed up till midnight,
so maybe he’ll sleep until noon.

“I haven’t gone into his bedroom.
Whenever I do he gets mad.
If anyone woke him this morning,
I’m guessing it must have been dad.

“It’s probably best not to bug him.
I try to stay out of his way.”
Yes, that’s what I said when mom asked me
if I woke up grumpy today.

–Kenn Nesbitt