Writing narrative poems

Home learning focus

Learn how to write narrative poems.

This lesson includes:

  • two videos

  • four activities

Learn

Narrative means story. A narrative poem is a poem that tells a story.

Many poems don’t have a narrative because they are often just about thoughts and feelings, instead of a story!

Watch this video to learn more about narrative poems.

What are narrative poems?

Features of a narrative poem

  • In a narrative poem, a story is told, but rhythm and rhyme are used.

  • Rhythm and rhyme give the narrative in the poem energy to make it exciting.

  • Some narrative poems also contain repetition to add rhythm and make it more predictable.

Stanzas

Poems are made up of stanzas. A stanza is a group of lines within a poem, similar to a paragraph.

Features of a stanza

  • Just like a paragraph, they contain related information and introduce new thoughts or ideas.

  • Poems can contain a number of stanzas. They are separated by skipping a line.

  • Like all poems, stanzas can rhyme, but they do not have to.

Practise

You may need paper and a pen or pencil for some of these activities.

Activity 1

Watch this fantastic performance of Chocolate Cake by Michael Rosen twice.

On your first watch - sit back and enjoy it.

On your second watch - make notes about:

  • what you enjoyed
  • what you would improve
  • examples of repetition
  • examples of rhyming
  • examples of onomatopoeia

Activity 2

It’s your turn! Can you write your very own narrative poem?

Top tip!

Use your ideas and example narrative poem on this sheet for help:

Narrative poems worksheet

Points to remember

  • A narrative poem tells a story, but it has rhythm, rhyme and repetition – just like a poem.

  • It’s ok to make mistakes! Experimenting with words, editing and redrafting are all part of the writing process!

  • Separate each new idea within your poem by using stanzas.

Activity 3

Once you have written your fantastic narrative poem, try performing it to a member of your family or a friend.

For tips on how to perform poems in an interesting or exciting way, watch this video.

Playing with words with poet Joseph Coelho.

Activity 4

Take a look at this villainous poem of Humpty Dumpty. Consider:

  • Is this a good example of a narrative poem? Why?

  • As an extra challenge, can you answer the questions too?

Villainous Humpty Dumpty worksheet

Where next?

In this lesson you have learnt to write narrative poetry.

There are other useful articles on Bitesize to help you to understand more about writing poetry:

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