How To Teach Poetry In Year Two

Written by Dan

Introducing poetry to Year Two students can be a rewarding and impactful experience for both the teacher and the students. At this stage, children are full of imagination and wonder, making it an ideal time to expose them to the beauty and depth of poetry.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to effectively teach poetry in Year Two, while ensuring that students gain an appreciation for the art form, understand basic poetic concepts, and even gain the confidence to create and share their own compositions.

Starting with a solid foundation in understanding poetry, teachers can introduce Year Two students to various types of poems , classic and modern authors, and basic poetic devices.

By providing a diverse range of poetry examples and engaging activities, students can begin to grasp that poetry is not just about rhyme, but also about imagery, metaphor, and, most importantly, expression of emotion and ideas.

It is crucial to encourage students to think creatively and explore the world of poetry on their own terms.

With a firm understanding of poetry established, teachers can guide students in creating their own poems and sharing them with their classmates. This builds confidence in self-expression and allows students to learn from one another.

Teaching poetry to students with English as an additional language (EAL) can also be a valuable tool for language acquisition and cultural exchange. By adapting lessons and teaching strategies to suit the diverse needs of the classroom, poetry can become an inclusive and enriching learning experience for all students.

Key Takeaways

  • Foster an appreciation for poetry through exposure to various types and authors
  • Encourage creativity and self-expression as children create and share their own poems
  • Adapt teaching methods to suit diverse students, including EAL learners

Understanding Poetry

Discovering the Importance of Words

In Year 2, teachers must instil an understanding of the power and importance of words in poetry. Start by introducing the concept of word choice to students.

Have a class discussion on how different words can create various emotions and imagery.

For example, you can compare the words “walk” and “stroll”. Explain how a poet carefully selects words for their poems to create a specific atmosphere, mood, or message.

To help students grasp this concept, you can create a fun activity where they replace words in a poem with synonyms and discuss the effects on the poem’s overall meaning.

This will encourage them to think more deeply about poets’ words and help develop their reading comprehension skills.

Reciting Classic Poetry

Exposing students to classic poetry is valuable in teaching poetry in Year 2. By reciting classic poems, teachers can help students understand different poetry styles and develop an appreciation for the beauty of language.

Consider sharing works from classic poets like Robert Louis Stevenson and Christina Rossetti to inspire the young learners.

  • Robert Louis Stevenson: Consider sharing “The Land of Counterpane” and “The Wind” for their simplicity and engaging language.
  • Christina Rossetti: Poems like “Who Has Seen the Wind?” and “The Caterpillar” can be great choices for Year 2 students due to their accessible themes and imagery.

Ask students to listen carefully, identify the words they find interesting or powerful, and then open a discussion about why they think the poet chose those specific words.

Instilling Comprehension

A key aim of teaching poetry in Year 2 is the development of reading comprehension skills. To help students deepen their understanding of poetry, try the following strategies:

  1. Ask questions: After reading a poem aloud, ask questions to prompt students to think about the poem’s meaning and message. Please encourage them to consider the poet’s perspective and their interpretations.
  2. Encourage visualization: Encourage students to create visual images in their mind while listening to or reading a poem. Visualization helps them better understand the emotions and themes the poet is trying to convey.
  3. Analysis: Teach students how to identify and discuss the various elements of poetry, such as rhythm, rhyme, and figurative language. By understanding these components, students can better grasp the craft of poetry and appreciate its unique beauty.

Remember, the goal of teaching poetry in Year 2 is to instil a love for the art form and lay the foundation for further exploration and understanding in the years to come.

By focusing on understanding the importance of words, exposing students to classic poetry, and fostering comprehension skills, you will provide a solid base for their ongoing journey into the world of poetry.

Creating your own Poetry

In year two, encouraging students to create their own poems can be both fun and educational. This creative process helps them to develop their language skills and fosters a deeper appreciation for poetry.

Two significant aspects of poetry that can be introduced to students in year two are acrostic poems and learning to rhyme.

Acquiring Acrostic Poems Skills

Acrostic poems are an excellent way for young students to explore their creativity. In an acrostic poem, the first letter of each line spells out a word or message when read vertically.

This type of poem allows students to focus on a specific topic while learning about the structure of poems.

To help students grasp the concept of acrostic poems, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a word or topic: Select a word or subject relevant to the students’ interests or curriculum.
  2. Create a word bank: Encourage students to brainstorm words and phrases related to the chosen topic.
  3. Write the poem: Students should use the words from their word bank to create lines that start with the corresponding letter of the chosen word or topic.


C - Cats are so cuddly and soft
A - Always there to make you smile
T - They purr quietly on your lap

Learning to Rhyme

Rhyming is an essential element of many poems that can be taught in year two. By introducing rhyming words, students gain an understanding of the connection between sounds and language.

To help them learn how to rhyme, follow these steps:

  1. Introduce rhyming words: Start by discussing words that have the same ending sound, such as “cat” and “bat”.
  2. Create a rhyming word list: Encourage students to come up with their list of rhyming words to familiarise themselves with the concept.
  3. Explore rhyming patterns: Present different rhyming schemes used in poems, such as AABB, ABAB or ABCB.

To showcase the rhyming patterns, teachers can use the following table:

Rhyme SchemeExample
AABBThe cat was on the mat (A)
The dog chased the rat (A)
They played all day (B)
In the garden of clay (B)
ABABI saw a bird in the tree (A)
It flew up high and free (B)
Singing songs like a bee (A)
Just as happy as can be (B)

Reinforcing these concepts through classroom activities and real examples will enable year two students to develop their poetic skills and understanding of language, enriching their literary experience.

Sharing and Performing Poetry

Observing Performance in Media

One effective way to teach poetry in Year Two is by observing performances in media. This can include watching recorded poetry performances from reputable sources like the BBC.

By exposing students to various performances, they can observe the poets’ different styles and techniques. This experience will help them grasp the nuances of poetry delivery and engage with the content more effectively.

  • Show recordings of professional poets reciting their work
  • Highlight various delivery techniques: pace, tone, body language
  • Discuss how these elements enhance the poem’s meaning

Experiencing Poetry Sharing

Allowing students to experience poetry sharing in a supportive and positive environment can significantly enhance their learning. Encourage each student to perform a poem before the class.

This active participation will enable them to understand the text better and internalise the message. Additionally, it will foster a connection with their peers through the shared experience of poetry.

  1. Choose a poem (either self-written or a published piece)
  2. Prepare a performance based on observed techniques in media
  3. Share the poem with the class, focusing on delivery and conveying meaning
  4. Engage in a respectful discussion with classmates about their performances

By incorporating both observations of performances in media and active poetry-sharing experiences in your Year Two lesson plans, students will develop a deeper understanding of, and appreciation for, the art of poetry.

This rich learning environment will enable them to explore and engage with poetic texts confidently throughout their education.

Teaching Poetry to EAL Students

Teaching poetry to Year Two students who are learning English as an additional language (EAL) can be a rewarding and engaging experience for both the teacher and the students.

By applying a few targeted strategies and using appropriate resources, it is possible to foster a love of poetry in EAL students while building their language skills.

Active Listening

Start by incorporating active listening activities into your lessons. Encourage EAL students to listen carefully to the rhythm, rhyme, and intonation of a poem. This can be done by:

  1. Playing recorded poems by professional speakers
  2. Reading poems aloud to the class
  3. Encouraging students to read poetry to one another

Using different types of poems – such as limericks, haiku, and acrostics – can provide EAL students with a variety of styles and structures to help build their understanding.

Context and Visual Aids

Since understanding the context of a poem can be challenging, especially for EAL students, it is essential to use visual aids and provide contextual information. For example:

  • Show images related to the poem’s setting or theme
  • Provide vocabulary lists with essential words to understand the poem
  • Create a word wall with key poetic terms and phrases

The use of visual aids can make the poem’s content more meaningful and approachable, leading to greater engagement and comprehension.

Multisensory Approach

A multisensory approach can help EAL students connect to the material and build their language skills. This might involve:

  • Incorporating actions or gestures while reading the poem
  • Encouraging students to draw or act out the poem’s scenes
  • Using props and visual displays to reinforce key concepts

By engaging with the poetry in various ways, EAL students can better understand the text and more effectively recall information.

Adapting the Poem

Finally, consider adapting the poem to suit the needs of your EAL students better. This could involve:

  • Simplifying complex vocabulary or phrases
  • Paraphrasing sections of the poem to clarify meaning
  • Providing translations for challenging words or phrases

This approach can enable EAL students to access the poem more easily and focus on understanding the overall message and structure.

In summary, teaching poetry to EAL students in Year Two can be enriching if you incorporate active listening activities, visual aids, multisensory approaches, and adapt the poems to meet their needs.

With patience and the right tools, poetry can be an avenue for building language skills and fostering a love of literature in young EAL learners.

About The Author

I'm Dan Higgins, one of the faces behind The Teaching Couple. With 15 years in the education sector and a decade as a teacher, I've witnessed the highs and lows of school life. Over the years, my passion for supporting fellow teachers and making school more bearable has grown. The Teaching Couple is my platform to share strategies, tips, and insights from my journey. Together, we can shape a better school experience for all.






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