Poetry Challenge Week Four: Blackout Poems

 It’s week FOUR of the Weekly Poetry Challenge, and this week is all about blackout poems! A blackout poem is created by taking a block of text—like from a newspaper, magazine, or book—and “blacking out” everything except the words you want. Here’s a blackout poem I wrote: Created using the book MAKE BLACKOUT POETRY by John Carroll Read some black out poems! Here are some blackout poems by author Austin Kleon . Examples of student-created blackout poems . Check out this Pinterest board for more examples. Write a black out poem! When creating your blackout poem, you may to start with a pencil and circle or block around the words you want to keep for your poem. Then, once you’re happy with your poem use a sharpie to black out everything you don’t want. Blackout poetry is a great visual, but you can also type out your poem when you’re done to make it easier to read. Need a little help? Here’s a video by Austin Kleon on how he makes blackout poetry. If you or your kids write blackout poem

Parent and Child Poetry Challenge: Acrostic Poems

To jump start this year's Read, Discuss, Do Poetry Challenge, we're exploring acrostic poems! Acrostic poems are poems in which the first letters of each line spell out the poem's subject. Acrostics can be pretty easy to write because the lines can be long, short, or a mix of both, and they don't have to rhyme. They can be simple, with every line being a word to describe the topic. Or they can be complex, with lots of interesting language and rhyme and rhythm! Often, they are somewhere in between.

A wonderful book of acrostic poems is AFRICAN ACROSTICS: A WORD IN EDGEWAYS by Avis Harley. This book is full of creative acrostic poems, including a few variations that may surprise you. It also includes explanations of the different variations as well as tips on how to write them in the back of the book.

Acrostics are a great way to introduce poetry to budding poets. Try starting with a familiar subject, such as a pet or favorite animal. For example:




Once you've got your subject, encourage your child to think of a word or phrase for each letter of the subject. Example:

Cute and cuddly

Always napping

Tries to catch mice

Be sure to spend some time brainstorming. You don't have to use the first thing that comes to your mind. You could also write more than one poem on the same subject and compare them!

Acrostics can also be a way to challenge more seasoned poets. Encourage older writers to be more creative with their word choice and experiment with stringing each line together so that it reads more like a free verse poem than a list, such as in the graphic above. It can also be fun to challenge kiddos (and yourself) to be creatively concise, like in the example below:




Remember: this challenge is about exploring and writing poetry together with your children. But we encourage you to let your child take the lead once he or she is comfortable. 

Need more help? Here is a video lesson on writing acrostic poems on poetry4kids.com.

If you're participating in this challenge (and you should be!) we'd love to see your poems! You can share them in the comments here or on social media using the hashtag #RDDPoetryChallenge.

Have fun writing acrostics!


Mindy Baker said…
Fantastic kick-off to the week!