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List Poems Are Easy To Like

A list poem is one of the easiest kinds of poems to write because it doesn't require a set rhythm or rhyme. But that doesn't mean you should write anything down helter- skelter.

Consider the inclusion of the following elements to make a list poem a poem instead of just a list:

• The writer is telling you something--pointing something out--saying, "Look at this," or, "Think about this."
• There's a beginning and end to it, like in a story.
• In other words, the poem needs to make sense and have some kind of flow to it.

List poems provide an easy and successful structure to get children feeling more comfortable with poetry. They are to be found in the poetry of many cultures and have been employed successfully by many contemporary poets.

Poetry is full of surprises. List also need to be full of surprises. Without the occasional surprise your list poems will have all the appeal of a supermarket shopping list on a day when you don't want to go shopping!

Here are some ideas that will assist you to be even more successful with this widely used poetic form.

You need a variety of items and when considering what to include.
• Be specific!
• Use colorful names for people, animals and objects.
• Use varied syntax (sentence structure)
• Try leaving the title until the poem is completed
• Be prepared to rearrange the items in your list to obtain the best possible effect.
• A big list is more effective than a short one.
• These poems need to be read with feeling.
• Think colorful
• Think variety of line length
• Be willing to change or rearrange your list items to add zest to your list.

If children can suggest their own topics for list poems that is even better.
After looking at a number of list poems and noting the features, I generally introduce a shared writing activity. This enables all students to contribute and feel successful. I act as scribe and they contribute their ideas. A variation of this is to get each student to contribute one idea on a strip of paper and then display their strip on the board. With the assistance of the class you then refine the line arrangement, until the group is satisfied with the poem. Following this I rewrite the poem on a large sheet and invite the students to illustrate around it.

As a follow up we may recite the poem with each contributor reading out their particular line. We may learn the poem to present as a choral reading activity to other classes. The next lesson would allow students to write their own list poems, or for the less confident, maybe a partner or small group writing activity might be offered.

Here are some possible topics. Once you start thinking about ideas for list poems you will quickly realize that there are so many possibilities.

 Things That Make Me Smile
 What I’m Afraid Of
 Animals That Should Be Invented
 My Favorite Things In New York (or any other place, you may think of)
 Rock Groups I’d Like to Start
 Where I Would Travel If I Had A Time Machine
 Things I Wish People Would Say To Me
 Things To Do Whilst Waiting For A Bus
 What You Can Do To Overcome Boredom
 Things You Might See On A Visit To The Zoo
 Things That Might Be Found Under My Bed.
 Things to Think About on a Rainy Day
 Weird things my dog does
 Things That Make Me Smile
 Scary Moments
 Things That Drive Me Bananas
 My Favorite Things About (Name a place)
 Things I Want To Remove From the World
 Things I Wish People Would Say To Me
 Things You Might Find Under My Bed
 Animals I Might See At The Zoo
 A List of Lost Things
 Things Not To Do On A Holiday
 Ways To Make Your Parents Happy
 Uses For Used Chewing Gum
 Things That Annoy Me
 Things I Can’t Do And Why
 What Cats Do
 Things That Are Quiet
 My Mistakes
 Things That Come In Handy
 Things That Are Gross
 My Achievements
 Irritating Sounds
 Embarrassing Moments
 What To Do If You Are Alone
 Things To Do On A Long Trip
 How To Make The Perfect Pizza
 How To Make A Rainbow
 How To Be A Hamster
 Things That Puzzle Me
 Make Believe Places
 Memories I’d Forgotten
 What To Do If You Meet A Monster
 What Teachers Do At Home

List Poem Examples


I used to be afraid of the dentist’s drill,
Creaky floorboards
And snakes at the end of my bed
Knives and guns
Embarrassing Haircuts
Menacing monsters lurking in the shadows
Vicious dogs in the night
People with missing teeth
And big kids who harass you just for being- little
Bee stings
Getting lost in a mall
Drowning in quicksand
My Nana’s outdoor toilet
And crazy roosters

But now I’m afraid of ignorance.

Alan j Wright

My Noisy Brother

My brother's such a noisy kid,
when he eats soup he slurps.
When he drinks milk he gargles.
And after meals he burps.
He cracks his knuckles when he's bored.
He whistles when he walks.
He snaps his fingers when he sings.
And when he's mad he squawks.
At night my brother snores so loud
it sounds just like a riot.
Even when he sleeps
My brother isn't quiet.

Bruce Lansky


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