These games are aimed at getting to grips with basic verse skills. Although
inspiration and natural rhythms are important, practice with simple model
verse forms and figures of speech builds confidence.
The acquisition of models is important. The more ways that one is aware
that a poem can be made, the more possibilities for expression are available.
Our expectations of how a poem looks and sounds governs the range of our
own writing. For this reason, it's important to provide a wide range of
poems for students, for them to read and hear poems in many different
styles and rhythms.
Although the games such as Limericker deal with
simple rhymed forms, getting the rhyme right is less important than
mastering the rhythm or producing a coherent and cohesive poem.
Nevertheless, many children are compulsive rhymers and improving their
fluency and range is as necessary to helping them establish control over the
structure and content of their work as showing them that poems don't have
The Rhymeboard was devised as an "exercise-bike" for the
rhyming muscles; but mere facility in finding rhymes is only valuable insofar
as it enables the writer to convey ideas within a rhymed structure without
losing sense or strength.
Some of these games can be played aloud, most require only paper; those
involving a definate verse form are helped by xeroxed/duplicated
In group work, examples should always be worked through and
more examples of finished work in the form be given: although these are
commonplace verseforms their workings are often misunderstood and a
thorough understanding of how simple rhythms are built up will create
In some ways it can be useful for teachers to think of what
they're teaching as being as much music or maths as literature.