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Home-Ed Poetry

Reading poetry is a fantastic way for pupils to develop reading-aloud skills and reading fluency. As an additional benefit to the home educator, lots of poems are short, making it easy to slot poetry reading into a daily homeschool routine.

Poetry as a lesson subject encourages engagement with language in a way prose doesn’t; poetry is creative and rhyming, metaphorical, nonsensical, and captures big emotions or draws complex pictures with (a few) words. Poetry can be heartwarming, transporting, and therapeutic to the reader and the writer when exploring for poetry for poetry’s sake* – but mostly in the classroom, poetry encourages students to explore words.

Illustrated Poetry

Poetry and art are perfect companions: Illustrated poetry lessons combine the two subjects.

Illustrated poetry is an easy lesson to set up formula, that includes copy work, handwriting, reading aloud and art. Lessons assign a poem and ask students to think about what imagery the words conjured and, how the poet intended us to feel reading it. You can make either the poem or the art the focus of the lesson depending; shifting the focus to the art aspect of the lesson to encourage reluctant poetry learners.

An illustrated poetry lesson

  • Choose a poem

Either let the students choose from anthologies or allocate a set poem based on a theme/topic/poet

  • Copy the poem onto lined paper

(Lined paper, I’ve found, makes it easier for kids to follow the structure of poems)

  • Illustrate the poem

Experiment with watercolour backgrounds, pencil sketched margins, illustrations etc

  • Finish with a recital of the poem.

Ending the lesson with the recital rather than starting with it gives the pupils chance to familiarise themselves with the poem whilst doing the copy.

Where to Find Poetry Resources for Home-Ed

The Poetry Foundation is a great place to start.

There are hundreds of poems to explore with guides that explain (teach) the poems, articles to inspire conversation and the website has a comprehensive glossary of poetic terms that is useful for independent learners to refer back to.

From a home-ed perspective, the website is really useful for lesson planning in a number of ways:

  • You can search through poems by topic, form, time and region.

The ability to search through time periods and regional poetry is a great tool that could be utilised in so many homeschool lessons exploring geography, culture, history.

  • There are articles to inspire you as a teacher,
  • and a fantastic Learn section, with resources and ideas to use in home-ed lessons and again, a great search function to narrow down content according to the age range being taught.

(Read more about the Poetry Foundation for Home-Ed here.)

Poetry Teatime

Poetry Teatime is a concept from Brave Writer that I stumbled on at the beginning of our homeschooling journey and have been using ever since. In the winter with a pot of tea, with ice-cream sundaes or lemonade in the summer… adding in a treat element to poetry readings makes it an activity they look forward to. Mostly we use poetry anthologies and randomly choose the poems, sometimes we’ll choose a specific poet to focus on that day or, we might use the Poem of the Day from the Poetry Foundation.

Taking it in turns to read poems alternates the roles of listener and orator making it a good activity for multiple homeschoolers.

The Poetry Teatime website has some great tips to help you add poetry teas to a homeschool schedule and offers poetry prompts and master lists of poems and poets to get you started. There are also complete lesson plans to take and use, like this All About Ruins lesson.


Poetry4kids has everything you need to include poetry in a home-ed curriculum. It really is a comprehensive enough site to be a poetry one-stop-shop website (KS1-3).

The website has complete lesson plans to teach every form of poetry, brilliant and unusual resources (like this Rhyming Places List that could be used for poetry or geography); there are games, activities to use in lessons, rhyming dictionaries and a dictionary of poetic terms. As a home educator trying to balance screen time with learning, I appreciate how (almost) everything can be printed and used as an offline lesson.

The National Centre for Writing

This charity initiative is a great resource for home education resources for everything reading and writing; and for poetry there are some interesting, engaging lesson plans to either assign to homeschoolers online or print as a PDF for an offline, guided lesson.

Each lesson is carefully thought out and easy to follow. For home educators, the courses provide ready-to-use lessons, with extension exercises, and also lots of tips and inspiration for future lessons.

Because the lessons are fun, homeschoolers readily engage with the content; the straightforward instructions make the materials accessible. Instructions are simply presented, broken down into manageable tasks, and each course contains modules that can be completed as individual lessons making the site content great to use as a fall-back for filler lessons.

The National Centre for Writing is a safe site for homeschoolers to explore alone. has excellent, ready-to-use lesson plans for homeschooling. I highly recommend subscribing to the Teach This Poem newsletter to receive weekly home-ed poetry lessons directly to your inbox.

Teach This Poem

Additionally, this article by Edward Hirsch is a very-long-but-worth-it piece that’s as useful for home educators unfamiliar to teaching poetry as it is to students studying poetry. Break it down into small read-aloud chunks, or assign as copy work.