Here are 10 exercises you can try to get your poetry muscles in shape!
1. Rewrite a favorite nursery rhyme using new sets of rhyming words.
2. Learn the rules of how to write a sonnet. Then write one.
3. Visit this website about Word Families: http://www.enchantedlearning.com/rhymes/wordfamilies/
Pick one common word family and make a list of all the single-syllable words in that word family that you can think of. Then write a short children’s poem using only words from that word family at the end of each line.
4. Read A Child’s Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson. Pick out one favorite poem. Write down 5 reasons why it’s your favorite of the bunch.
5. Write a poem about a cookie using PERFECT rhyme. Don’t finish until every rhyme is absolutely on target. (No tears/stairs or tribe/wild or other NEAR rhymes.)
6. Write a Haiku about one joyful childhood memory.
7. Read about “poetry” in an encyclopedia. Write down in your journal about something new you learned about this genre.
8. Study a publisher’s list of new releases and find a children’s book written in rhyme or a collection of children’s poems. Find that book at your local bookstore and read it to see what’s currently hitting the market.
9. Diagram a favorite children’s book written in rhyme. Write out the meter and note the rhyme scheme it uses.
10. Choose a word with more than one syllable such as Revolution. Use a rhyming dictionary and make a list of near-rhyming words such as Constitution and evolution.
-Contributed by Nancy I. Sanders