How to Teach Poetry During Kindergarten Writer's Workshop

Rhyming is one of the most important concepts for children to understand as they embark on their journey as writers and readers. When a child can rhyme, it shows that they are hearing ending sounds properly and using problem-solving skills to match other words with the same ending sound. We discuss rhyming all the time as kindergarten teachers, it is ingrained in daily conversations. So when the word “poetry” pops up in our standards it should be a piece of cake… right? Yeah no, not in my experience. Not only is poetry not actually all about rhyming, but trying to explain to a kindergartener what poetry is… well that gets tricky. 

So I decided to create this Poetry Unit for all the kindergarten teachers out there with curriculums that not only ask your students to “go off and write independently” but also give a lackluster (or nonexistent) definition of poetry. 

With this 4-week unit, I keep the definitions simple and straightforward. Although this unit is set up quite differently than my other units, the philosophy is still to teach it slowly. So let’s dive in and see what it is all about. 

The 4-week Poetry Unit in the Classroom

This unit is composed of 20 lesson plans on differing types of poetry.  As I mentioned above, this unit is set up quite differently than my other units. Each week you will focus on just one genre of poetry. I begin the unit with lists and move on to more challenging genres week by week. 

As the teacher, you know your students best and have a better idea of what they need as a class, you can always adjust the lessons to fit your classroom. For example, you may want to only discuss two genres and stretch out the lessons to cover two weeks. I have provided many practice pages if this is the case. 

On the first day, you will discuss and define poetry as a type of writing that explains someone’s ideas or feelings. Then, you’ll introduce list poetry and begin creating a practice poem together. Throughout the rest of the week, students will work through mapping out ideas, creating a rough draft, drawing an illustration, and completing a final poem. 

You will follow a similar sequence for each genre (list, sensory, shape, and rhyming). The genre will be introduced and defined, you will practice together, and then students create a graphic organizer of ideas or topics. Next, writers create a rough draft. And finally, students complete their final drafts and illustrations. 


What is included in this unit?

The Poetry Unit is absolutely packed full of resources for both you and your students! It includes 20 scripted lesson plans (5 on each genre of poetry) that you can follow precisely or adjust based on the needs of your classroom. Within those lessons, you'll find a full list of materials needed, including mentor texts. 

For each type of poetry, you will see a variety of anchor charts that can be used digitally or printed, differentiated rough draft options, final draft options, and many practice pages. I have also included various craft options for the sensory poem lessons and many different shape options for the week about shape poetry. 


This is a super fun unit! It takes what is sometimes a difficult topic to teach (at any grade level but especially kindergarten!) and creates an engaging month-long exploration of writing. You may be surprised at what you learn about your students throughout the month as they explore their thoughts, feelings, and ideas in a new way. 

You can see a full list of what is included and preview the product here

How do I know if my students are ready for this? 

This unit is the final unit in my Kindergarten Writing Bundle, meaning it is meant to be completed once many skills have been developed, practiced, and mastered. If you have not completed my other units but your students can draw basic illustrations, sound out words, and write short sentences using a sentence starter then you are likely ready for this unit! Remember that you can adjust the lessons as you see fit and slow down if needed. 

If you read this and are thinking, wow, we have a lot of work to do before we are ready for that! Then I would highly suggest backtracking a bit and beginning one of my other units. You could go back to the basics with my Illustration Unit or Labeling Unit. The latter of which discusses sounding out words independently. If your writers have those things down but aren’t quite mastering writing sentences, my Narrative Writing Unit is an excellent place to start. It takes students through a month-long adventure of story writing as you guide them lesson by lesson towards independent writing. It is much more in-depth and takes writing more slowly. 

If you love the sound of all of these units and are ready to amp up your writer’s workshop time all year long,  grab my full Kindergarten Writing Bundle here! If you are looking for independent activities, writing crafts, directed drawings, or practice pages for your writer’s workshop time or rotations this is a link to all my developmentally appropriate resources