Best Poetry Websites and Online Interactives for Kids
Interactive Tools Help Students With the Craft of Writing Poems
I love to read my students' poems, and these interactives and poetry collections provide them inspiration and guidance. I've seen sparks of creativity fly for children and teens alike. The collections of poems on these websites include classic favorites as well as works by contemporary authors AND kids.
Although they are enthusiastic, my students sometimes find writing verse to be a challenge. They struggle with choosing just the right word. Or they are unsure if they had the right form. How do you write a haiku? How about an acrostic or a limerick?
What These Sites Offer
That's where these writing tools and examples help. Many of them have forms, tips, and scaffolding. A few even give your kids the opportunity to submit their finished works of poetic art for online publication. As an added bonus, many of the sites also have lesson plans for teachers.
- ReadWriteThink Poetry Interactives
- RhymeZone's Rhyming Dictionary
- Poetry 180
- Writing With Writers: Poetry
- Haiku Poem Interactive
- Curriculum Pathways Poetry Lessons
- Poetry Foundation
- Teen Ink
1. ReadWriteThink Poetry Interactives
ReadWriteThink is one of the foremost websites in providing online reading and writing activities for students and lesson plan ideas for teachers. They have several interactives and an app kids can use to wax poetic.
Each interactive is accompanied by lesson plan ideas for students at various grade levels. Be sure to print or copy each completed poetic masterpiece! Not all of them can be saved online.
The interactives described below provide step-by-step instructions for creating word mover, acrostic, diamante, letter, riddle, and shape writing poems.
Word Mover Interactive
The Word Mover interactive invites kids to verse by manipulating word tiles. Students can add their own word tiles, choose backgrounds, and share their poems by email.
Acrostic Poem Interactive
The Acrostic Poem interactive provides a form where you pick your main word, then write words that start with the letters of the main word. After you brainstorm your acrostic words, you type in the ones that best describe your main word. The interactive will suggest other words when you point at a letter in the main word. You can then print your work or go back and make changes.
Diamante Poem Interactive
Using the Diamante Poem interactive, kids create verse in the shape of a diamond. They select a central theme, then use adjectives, -ing verbs, and nouns to "paint" the theme. The interactive has examples to guide the poet. There are also pop-ups on the fill-in-the-blank diamante form to help guide the student through the parts of speech that make up this form.
Letter Poem Creator
Letter Poem Creator is designed for students in grades 3–5. Using the example in the interactive, students insert line breaks, thus turning narrative into verse. The model explains the process of breaking a letter into ideas and stanzas.
Riddle Poem Interactive
Middle school kids in grades 6–8 can "riddle me this" poetically. The Riddle Poem interactive helps students to make use of simile, metaphor, and metonymy. Students design a riddle around an answer, such as a door or grass. They brainstorm words associated with the answer, their synonyms, and their antonyms. The best riddles use as many of the senses as possible.
Shape Theme Poems Interactive
The Shape Theme Poems interactive was designed to help elementary students gel thoughts based on a theme, then write a poem in a related shape (for example, a poem about apples in the shape of an apple). This interactive tool provides 32 different shapes around such themes as sports, nature, and school to spur creativity.
JogLab's Word Finder is a great tool to jog kids' memories for associated words to use in specific types of poems. The poems emphasized on this site include acrostics, mnemonics, and backronyms. (What's a backronym? JogLab explains all.)
The site is loaded with examples for students to riff on. From the list of words "joggled," kids can order them by noun, verb, adjective, etc. Then they select words for their hot list of favorites for the poem they are creating.
It's best suited for students in grades 3–12. See the demo in the video above.
3. RhymeZone's Rhyming Dictionary
RhymeZone's Rhyming Dictionary helps kids in their struggle to find words that express their feelings and ideas. It goes well beyond helping kids to find rhyming words. Use it to find synonyms and antonyms, as well as words with similar sounds or consonants (alliteration). You can even see where Shakespeare has used your word in his works. RhymeZone also has dictionary definitions, homophones, and letter matching
Other resources on this site include the works of Shakespeare, Mother Goose poems, a poetry forum, and several vocabulary games—lots of goodies for young and old poetry lovers.
4. Poetry 180
Poetry 180 provides schools, classrooms, and homeschooled teens an opportunity to listen to poems by popular contemporary poets. This site is designed for pure enjoyment; there's no need to analyze or write about the poems. One poem a day is typically read as part of morning or afternoon announcements.
Each poem is accompanied by a brief bio of the author, the background of the poem, and a link to more detailed information about the author's work.
Billy Collins, U.S. Poet Laureate from 2001–2003, is the host of this series that resides on the Library of Congress website. He provides guidance on how to use the poems and an example of how to read one that is particularly helpful.
5. Writing With Writers: Poetry
Spend some time with writers of children's poetry at Scholastic's Writing With Writers: Poetry. Three well-known poets discuss samples of their work and give kids advice on their own poetry writing. You'll also find guidance for publishing your kids' poems in the lesson planning resources for teachers and homeschool parents.
Watch Jack Prelutsky, Children's Poet Laureate, as he waxes poetic with a selection of his works. Karla Kushin offers kids in grades 4–8 her poetry writing and revising tips. Jean Marzollo, the writer of the well-known "I Spy" riddles, offers guidance and tips to help kids create their own riddles. And K–12 students have the opportunity to publish their poems to this site.
Try the interactive Poetry Idea Engine to create and print a limerick, haiku, cinquain, or free verse.
Shel Silverstein's Official Site for Kids is all about the fun of Shel Silverstein. Every child I know has been captivated and amused by the off-kilter poetic sense of Silverstein and his equally oddball illustrations. His website is very much in the same vein. The audio on the site helps you to fully appreciate and play along with his poetic hijinks.
7. Haiku Poem Interactive
Haiku Poem Interactive is a relatively new addition to the ReadWriteThink family of student interactives. It explains the 5-7-5 syllable pattern and the significance of an "Aha!" moment, and it offers suggestions for getting inspired. Students brainstorm a list of eight words and their syllable counts, then use those words as a kicking-off point for their poem. The interactive does not hold them to the strict 5-7-5 pattern.
Once a child completes her poem, she can change the font style, background image, and position of the poem and the page to get the effect she wants. Poems can be printed or saved for later use.
As with their other materials, ReadWriteThink includes lesson plans that make use of the interactive.
Poetry4Kids.com is home to the works of Kenn Nesbitt, Children's Poet Laureate, and it is a poetry playground. Kids read and rate the poems on this website. You'll see funny ones, the newest ones, and the most popular ones. There are lessons on writing funny poems, including clerihews and exaggeration poems. And there's a simple rhyming dictionary.
If you register (for free), you can enter poetry contests, participate in a poetry forum, and even keep a poetry journal.
9. Curriculum Pathways Poetry Lessons
In these activities geared to students in grades 6–12, Curriculum Pathways Poetry Resources provides lessons to engage students in analyzing different types of poetry. Students learn poetry-reading strategies on themes in nature, sports, families, and the great poems of English literature.
Teachers can adjust the lessons to meet the needs of the students. Free registration is required for teachers and students. This is also an excellent resource for homeschoolers.
10. Poetry Foundation
Get some inspiration for a video creation from the beautiful selection on the Poetry Foundation website. In addition to the video collection, there are interviews with well-known poets, including the Children's Poet Laureate.
Among their other resources is a Poetry Tool, where you can browse through a selection by age group or category. Teachers and homeschooling parents will find lesson plan ideas in their Learning Lab resources.
The POETRY App
Take your poetry on the go with the Poetry Foundation's free POETRY app for iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Browse by category, or search by poet or a line of poetry. Or give your device a shake to discover a random new poem.
11. Teen Ink
Teen Ink offers teenagers a forum and showplace for the poetic works they write. Teens submit their original works, and their peers vote on the pieces they like most. The most popular poems posted by teens are showcased on the website.
There's also a forum for teens to get feedback on their poetry and share their ideas. Additionally, Teen Ink offers similar opportunities for teens who write fiction and non-fiction stories.
Poets.org has extensive educational resources for high school teachers to use with students. There are curriculum and lesson plan ideas, a teacher discussion forum, essays, and tips on teaching poetry. There is also an anthology of poems to share with students.