I’ve put together a six week course on poetry for local home educated children.
We’re using The Works poetry anthology as it gives a fantastic selection of different types of poem.
The first week, we looked at Rhyme.
Colour in rhyming words in the same colour.
We’ve got six weeks to look at poetry together. This week we’re going to start off by looking at rhyme.
Can anyone tell me what it means to say that two words rhyme?
Rhyming is about the sound at the end of the words, not the letters. So ‘snow’ and ‘now’ don’t rhyme – even though they end with the same letters, and ‘chair’ and ‘bear’ do rhyme, even though they don’t end with the same letters. If you’re not sure whether or not two words rhyme, try saying them out loud and listen to the sound.
Rhyme is an important part of a lot of poetry. And you can have different effects by using rhyme in different ways. There are two main types of rhyme: masculine rhyme and feminine rhyme.
Masculine rhyme is when only one syllable rhymes (like ‘cat’ and ‘bat’, or ‘acrobat’ and ‘laundromat’) and feminine rhyme is when two or more syllables rhyme (like ‘stoney’ and ‘bony’, or ‘on a pony’ and ‘macaroni’).
We’re going to try and put the words on these cards into rhyming pairs, then sort the pairs into feminine and masculine rhymes.
Give out cards with rhyming words on, children should pair up the rhymes then peg them on the ‘masculine rhyme line’ or the ‘feminine rhyme line’.
The exact effect of masculine and feminine rhymes varies with lots of other factors, like whether the rhyme is a hard consonant sound or a soft sibilant sound, whether the rhyming words share the same rhythm or not, and what other effects are going on in the poem. But, you can expect feminine rhymes to sound more lyrical and – sometimes – more light-hearted than masculine rhymes.
Rhyme is one of the main ways that poets structure their poems. So, one of the important ways that we talk about poems is by looking at which words rhyme.
The rhyming shape of a poem is called the rhyme scheme, and they are very easy to find. We’re going to find the rhyme scheme of a poem together, and then you can all have a go on your own.
To find the rhyme scheme, we’re going to focus on the words at the ends of the lines.
‘There’s a Monster in the Garden’ page 406-7.
This is a nice easy rhyme scheme, it’s four stanzas, each made up of three rhyming couplets.
Give out rhyme scheme work sheets, for children to have a go at finding rhyme schemes themselves.
Those who can manage the nursery rhymes can try ‘Jellicle Cats Come Out Tonight’, page 394.
Older children could also find the rhyme scheme of ‘Sonnet’, page 511.
Work out the rhyme scheme of ‘Sonnet’ together.
Christina Rossetti’s poem is a very special type of poem, does anyone know what this type of poem is called?
It’s a sonnet.
Sonnets were incredibly popular in the 16th and 17th centuries, and hold a special place in English and Italian literary history. They are also very easy to spot. They should have fourteen lines, and a strict rhyme scheme.
Christina Rossetti was writing much later, in the 19th Century, when sonnets had a brief resurgence amongst the Romantics.
The first step in looking for a sonnet, is to count how many lines it has.
If you’re feeling clever, you can then work out the rhyme scheme and you may be able to match it to the rhyme scheme of other famous poets.
Ask younger children to have a look at the poems on pages 510, 513, and 516, can they count the lines and identify the sonnets?
Give older children a Shakespearean sonnet and a Spenserian sonnet and see if they can spot any similarities between the rhyme schemes of these and the Romantic sonnets.
Younger children could make Jellicle Cats from plasticine.