Learn All Year Long
ReadWriteThink has a variety of resources for out-of-school use. Visit our Parent & Afterschool Resources section to learn more.
Poetic Memories of Summer
- Paper for writing and drawing
- Pen or pencil, crayons or markers (the more colors available, the better)
- A kitchen timer
- Acrostic Poems interactive tool
- Diamante Poems interactive tool
- Theme Poems interactive tool
- Photos from past summer vacations
- A favorite summer reading book, past or present
- Recipes for favorite summer meals or snacks
- Ticket stubs or souvenirs from a ballgame, concert, or festival attended during the summer
Adjust your level of involvement depending on the child’s age and temperament. A younger child might want more guidance while a teen is likely to prefer more independence.
- Introduce the summer poetry project. Explain that the poem can be about any aspect of summer they want to explore. For younger children, pump up their enthusiasm by telling them you will post it on the refrigerator, bulletin board, or add it to the photo album alongside summer vacation photos.
- Provide three blank sheets of paper and ask the child to write one favorite thing about summer in the middle of each piece of paper and circle it. Each paper should have one separate topic, for a total of three topics. Summer vacation or going to the pool might be the first ideas that come to mind. If so, encourage the child to zero in on one detail or moment in those experiences. What about describing a perfect summer meal or dessert? How does it feel at the exact moment you jump in the pool on a scorching hot day? Sometimes the best poems grow from the smallest seeds.
- Have the child select one topic and put the other two sheets aside. Set the timer for 10 minutes and ask the child to spend the time writing as many related words or phrases as possible. Some children may want to draw pictures, too. Give the child a two-minute warning when the time is nearly done.
Adjust the time as needed and be willing to brainstorm with the child, if he or she gets stuck. Are there vacation photos or other items that might help spark some ideas? Asking open-ended questions can help. If they selected “Visiting Grandma and Grandpa,” ask “What is your favorite thing to do at their house?” Drawing pictures can remind children what they saw, but what about other senses, like the feeling of sand in your shoes? Suggest that children recall sounds and smells of summer, too.
- Explain the Acrostic, Diamante, and Theme Poem formats. Or you can let the child try the interactives to see how each works. Allow the child to select one format for the first poem. How to pick? The Acrostic format is great for beginners. If the child has drawn some pictures, they might be able to find a similar shape in the Theme Poems interactive.
- Remind the child to refer to the topic sheet as he or she begins stringing the poem together. If younger children get writer’s block, you might take turns coming up with lines. Then, the child can do the next poem independently.
- When the poem is complete, have the child read it aloud. Does the poet like the way it sounds? Do you – the audience – have any suggestions? When all edits are made, print out the poem or share the final version with friends and family via e-mail.
- Repeat the steps above to write a second and third poem. Encourage the child to use a different interactive each time so they try all three formats. If an Acrostic Poem was done first, try the Diamante Poem and Theme Poem formats for the next two poems. If time or attention span are in short supply, save the second and third poem topics for another day.
- Older children or younger child with a guardian's permission can proudly display their work on social media outlets by using #RWTsummer.
- Take it outside! Grab some sidewalk chalk and let the child write the finished poem on the sidewalk or driveway.
- Time for a poetry slam: Have the child read the poems for friends and family. Make it more of an event by inviting the audience to compose their own poems and share them.
- Suggest that older children record their completed poems as a podcast. Use our activity How to Record Podcasts to guide you through the process.
- Visit the local library and check out age-appropriate poetry books. Can the child imitate some of the forms found in the books? Look for summer-themed poems, such as William Carlos Williams' "This Is Just To Say." It’s about eating a cold, delicious plum – yum!
Once you’ve finished your poem, use the saving capability within the interactive tool to save your file.
- On the final screen of the interactive, click Save Final.
- Name your file something that is descriptive of your poem, and click Save.
- Select a place on your computer or external drive to save the file, and click Save.
- For more information about the saving capability, see our RWT ReView: Saving Work With the Student Interactives.
- With guardian permission, share photos or videos of completed work via social media sites by using #RWTsummer.
- Congratulate the child on publishing his or her work, and click through other children's poems to comment--or to find inspiration for a new project!