Found Poetry Activity

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Updated on Sep 14, 2012

Encourage your sixth grader to work on her writing skills with a found poem. Found poems are written by rearranging and re-purposing bits and pieces of other people’s writing—anything from a newspaper ad to your grocery list! This is a great way to inspire creativity in any reluctant writer. There are a few rules but also plenty of fun in this puzzle-like poetry project.

What You Need:

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Writing samples to mine for your poems. Examples: newspaper articles, magazine stories, grocery lists, school hand-outs, songs, comics… Even the titles on a book shelf can be used to create a found poem.

What You Do:

  1. Explain to your child that you are both going to create a found poem. A found poem doesn’t have to rhyme. It is most often free verse – without set numbers of stanzas, lines or rhymes. But that doesn’t mean just anything goes.
  2. Here is what you can do:
    • Black out words by deleting them from the writing sample
    • Change verb tenses
    • Change punctuation or capitalization
    • Change plural to singular and vice versa
  3. Here is what you cannot do:
    • Do not change word order.
    • Do not add words that are not in the original sample.
  4. Most found poems change the meaning of the writing sample entirely. Some, but not all, are humorous. Remember, it may take more than one try to write a really good found poem.
  5. Now both of you pick out a writing sample and have some fun!

For an added twist, trade writing samples and create two new poems. When you share your poems, compare just how different the poems are that you created from the same writing samples.  

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