How to Write a Narrative Poem

Don't know how to write a narrative poem? Does your child need to learn how to write narrative poetry? A narrative poem is not nearly as intimating as the name may lead you to believe.

Elements of a Narrative Poem
Narrative poems tell a story or detail a series of events. You will often see use of poetic devices such as personification, similes and metaphors and alliteration, but the common thread between all narrative poetry is that a complete story is told within the poem. This means the poem will feature characters and will have a clear beginning, middle and end, much like a short story.

The parts of the story are broken into stanzas, usually in groupings of four, six or eight lines. This helps break up the story as the narrator (the poet) tells the story.

Tips for Writing Narrative Poetry
When teaching a child to write a narrative poem, have the child decide first on a story he wishes to tell. The child should break the story into three distinct parts: beginning, middle and end. He should then write down a bullet list of story pieces that will be told in each segment of the poem. Make sure the child writes down important details that will make the story come alive.

Include at least one character in the story. If the child wants to write about an inanimate object, explore the possibility of personifying that inanimate object.

Structuring a Narrative Poem
Narrative poems can be written in a number of forms, but the most common structure is to use rhyming patterns and to write using iambic pentameter. Narrative poems can also be written in free verse or blank verse format. Help your child select a structure for the poem that she is comfortable using, then help her work the beginning of the story into a poetic form. Encourage your child to stop and read the poem out loud every once in a while, counting syllables, looking for rhyming patterns and searching for ways to dress the story up by using poetic devices.

It may help your child if you post an example of a narrative poem beside him as he writes. One fun example of a narrative poem is "Ickle Me, Pickle Me, Tickle Me Too," by Shel Silverstein.

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