Simple starts :Anagrams and Acrostics

These are well-known games.

Anagrams will be familiar to most adults from crossword puzzles and may seem too difficult for children. However, careful selection from any book of easy puzzles will provide a good stock of phrases which will, when the letters are placed in a different order, reveal a new word or phrase.

Although not directly part of poetry, learning to play with words and working out such word-problems develops a flexibility of thought and playfulness with language that is invaluable in creating poems.

Acrostics are rather too often used as a substitute for thought. Children are asked to, say, write their name down the side of the page and then simply write any word or phrase starting with the given letter.

In order for there to be any real value in the game, some more elements need to be introduced - most basically that the phrases have to be on one subject, and should attempt to explain the player's perceptions and feelings about that subject.

Further possibilities for refining what is often a slack exercise could include asking for the lines, or some of them, to rhyme; or making a small story out of the sequence of phrases.

Players should be encouraged to make the poem as as any other, with line-breaks that follow the sense and rhythm, not distorted by the intitial letters.

For further information on this sort of game click on any under SIMPLE STARTS in the INDEX side bar.

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Windows Workshops Dave Calder, The Windows Project ,1997,1998,1999,2009