Articles & Videos

3 ways to elevate your poetry lessons

Paper airplane

Subscribe to our newsletters

Receive teaching resources and tips, exclusive special offers, useful product information and more!


Back to articles & videos

3 ways to elevate your poetry lessons

English Stars 1/11/22

The fun and creative nature of poetry often makes it a hit in the classroom. It gives students new and unique ways to express themselves while they develop those all-important literacy skills.

Beyond exploring a variety of poetry types, themes and sound devices, there are many creative ways to bring poetry to your students. Use these tips to help elevate your poetry lessons.

Add some rhythm and music

Remember that students may have biased views about what poetry is and who it’s for. Many think poetry is just rhyming words, without realising how integrated poetry is in our everyday lives – perhaps most notably in music.

While poetry is comprised of many different poetic devices (alliteration, assonance and onomatopoeia to name a few), exploring rhythm in music is a great way to highlight the connection between poetry and music. This shows students that poetry isn’t just about rhyme and lyrics, but also an underlying repeated pattern of stressed and unstressed beats.

Use this video from English Stars to show students how rhythm and beat contribute to poetry:

Why not have your students pick one of their favourite songs and have them identify all of the poetic devices used throughout the song?

Pair poetry with performance

There is something powerful in seeing spoken word artists perform. While the written component of poetry helps students advance their literary skills, it’s also important to provide plenty of opportunities for students to see poetry performed and have a go at performing themselves.

To begin, select a poetry reading for your class to watch together and discuss:

  • How did the speaker change their voice as they were reading?
  • Did the speaker’s pace change?
  • What did you like or dislike about the poem?

Next, use this video from English Stars to show effective vocal effects, including pitch, pace, pause, volume, emphasis, clarity and tone.

Once students understand what effective poetry readings look like, get them to perform!

Have students practise reading one of their poems aloud, and when they’re happy with how it sounds, record! Ensure your students are being critical when listening to the recording, ask them to consider:

  • Can I hear the rhythm?
  • Does the rhyme work?
  • Is it fun to listen to?
  • Do I want to make any changes to the poem or vocal effects?

Allow your students to re-record until they are happy with it!

Look to local poets

Rather than sticking with the same poets and poetry examples, why not look up the work of some local Indigenous poets? This can be a great way to engage with local Indigenous community members and explore new poetry with your class!

And there you have it – three simple but effective ways to inject a little more fun into your poetry lessons.

Don’t forget, you’ll find a poetry unit in every year level of English Stars complete with extensive resources including concept notes, high-quality poetry examples and videos. Sign up for a free trial of English Stars today!

More English Stars articles & videos