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What Are the Different Types of Free Verse Poetry for Kids?

By G. Wiesen
Updated May 17, 2024
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Free verse poetry for kids can take many different forms, though it is often meant to appeal to the interests of children. Humorous or comedic poems are quite common, which may deal with funny subjects or have imagery that is inherently silly and comedic. A great deal of free verse poetry for kids takes the form of a narrative that tells a story, since children are often interested in and captivated by storytelling. There are also poems that can seek to capture an experience or a moment that children can relate to, such as a dream or an event from the poet’s childhood.

One of the most common types of free verse poetry for kids is a poem that is meant to be funny or tell a joke. This can relay a humorous event, such as a troupe of monkeys attempting to act like people. These types of poems often make kids laugh from the use of language and imagery that is humorous. They can also empower children by allowing them to see the impact of comedy on an audience. Such free verse poetry for kids can even take the form of a joke, with the body of the poem setting it up and the final line delivering the punch line.

Narrative free verse poetry for kids is also quite popular, as children typically enjoy the flow of a story. Many young people are brought up on fairy tales and similar stories for children, and so they already understand and know what to expect from a story. When being introduced to new concepts, such as free verse poetry, the use of a familiar narrative structure can make the process easier. This type of free verse poetry for kids often has a beginning, middle, and end but unveils the story quickly and with sharp and evocative language.

Some works of free verse poetry for kids might simply seek to relate to or identify with children, rather than tell a joke or a story. A poet can express memories of his or her youth that are recognizable to a child and so the poem becomes more accessible. This could be a poem about a dream that the poet had as a child, or the poet’s first day of school. Such relatable events often make this sort of free verse poetry for kids more meaningful for young audiences. While adults may be able to appreciate these works, the subject matter and imagery is often meant to capture the mind and interests of children.

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Discussion Comments

By bythewell — On Feb 26, 2014

@KoiwiGal - Just don't dumb it down too much. I've been in classrooms where what they call poetry is basically two lines with a simple rhyme scheme and the kids were bored by it. They didn't understand the point.

You have to help them see that poetry is like art, but with words. It doesn't always look like exactly what it describes, but it somehow manages to show you the essence of what the writer means.

By KoiwiGal — On Feb 25, 2014

@browncoat - I actually don't think the techniques matter all that much as long as the writing itself is engaging and pitched at the right level. Kids who can recognize things like metaphors or imperatives are going to be hunting for them as though they are on a treasure hunt.

If you can make your poem so engaging that they are paying attention to the meaning rather than the words, then you have written a good poem for children. It's also important to remember that if they have to struggle over the meaning of every second word they aren't going to understand or enjoy it, so keep that in mind when writing as well.

By browncoat — On Feb 24, 2014

If you are writing free verse poetry for children, remember that you need to stay consistent within your own poem. This might seem to contradict the idea of free form writing, but children like to have reasons for things and if the reasons are too obscure for them to understand or appreciate that will just confuse them or frustrate them.

If every second line ends with a rhyme, then keep that consistent. If the poem is full of onomatopoeia then make sure that continues until the end. Remember that young children will only be able to concentrate on a couple of aspects at a time. Don't talk down to them, but don't try to trick them either.

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