Poetry Unit Study: Poetic Forms

by Jimmie

Poetry is a broad category that encompasses many different forms of poetry. Design your own homeschool unit study with these resources about poetic forms.

Poetry is an area of language arts that often gets neglected for other more pressing areas such as writing and vocabulary. But poetry is both enjoyable and important! If you are looking for a way to incorporate poetry into your curriculum, consider a study of poetic forms.

Choose some of the more common poetic forms and go through one or two each week until you are finished. Possible poetic forms include Narrative Poetry, Haiku, Villanelle, Pastoral, Sonnet, Lyric Verse, Free Verse, Limerick, Nonsense Verse, Nursery Rhymes, and Ballad.

Listen and Read Poetic Forms

Book and CD Set

Poetry is meant to be listened to, so it is important to read poetry outloud. A Child's Introduction to Poetry is perfect in this respect because each poem included in the book is also available on the audio CD that comes with the book. The recordings are wonderfully expressive and really help you understand the meaning of the poem. I also love that each poem is clearly numbered in the book and on the disc. It's easy to go right to the poem you want to hear.

I used this book to introduce my daughter to the different forms of poetry. Each one is explained with easy to understand descriptions and background history. At least one example of the poetic form is included in the book and on the audio CD. (The second half of the book is on specific poets.)

Another wonderful option is the book A Kick in the Head, full of delightful illustrations and engaging poems of all forms. 

Keeping a Poetry Notebook

The Notebooking Fairy -- printables and how-tos with a pinch of pixie dust

Notebooking is a learning method that works with any curriculum, any learning style, and any grade level. Keeping a poetry notebook is a great complement to a poetry unit study. When you study the various poetic forms, have your chid take notes and find example poems to copy.

The Notebooking Fairy has free printable notebooking pages for eleven different poetic forms. The pages all have a unified appearance so that they look like a set, but they are in individual files according to the poetic form. You can get a preview from the thumbnails below. Click on the list of poetic forms to get to the blog posts where the files are uploaded.

Free Verse
Free Verse

How Can You Study Poetic Forms?

Here are some ideas for designing your unit study on poetic forms.

  • Read about the type of poem and take notes or narrate on a notebooking page.
  • Listen to and read some examples of that type of poem. Copy one of those into your poetry notebook. Illustrate the poem or analyze its form or its meaning.
  • Try your hand at composing your own poem in that form. Use a rhyming dictionary if needed.

More Language Arts Helps

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Narration Problems: The Narration Has Errors
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Designing Your Language Arts Curriculum
The basics of language arts with specific advice, teaching tips, links to printables, and encouragement.

How to Choose a Language Arts Curriculum
Things to evaluate when selecting a language arts program for homeschool.

Benefits of Copywork
All about using copywork to its greatest advantage.

Updated: 11/05/2012, Jimmie
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sheilamarie on 12/10/2011

Great tips for teaching poetry. I like your idea of copying favorite poems into a notebook or journal. That can help a child make the poem her own. I'm also really interested in your book/CD suggestion. Sounds like a great resource.

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