Teaching our students the types of rhymes in poetry is a great way to reengage them in writing. By the upper elementary and middle school grades our students think they know all about rhyming poetry and writing, but we can teach them the complex rhymes that will keep them interested. If our students know the different types of rhymes that occur in literature, poetry and writing they will be able to use them to make their own writing more interesting and complex.
I Didn’t Know How to Use the Types of Rhymes in Poetry
When I was in middle school and high school I loved writing poetry. It was a way that I processed and expressed my feelings of growing up without flat out saying it. I love being able to use imagery to subtle express myself. However, I usually stuck to end rhymes. I didn’t know how to write anything more complex than that.
Does Poetry Need to Rhyme?
Poetry doesn’t need to rhyme, but I liked to rhyme poetry. Rhyming presented me with the challenge of saying what I wanted to say while sticking to a rhyme scheme. I think most students enjoy rhyming too because often our rhymes can be silly and challenging. I have found my students are engaged in writing rhyming poetry.
What’s great about these types of rhymes in poetry is that they do not need to be limited to poetry. Teaching our students the different types of rhymes could help them stay engaged over the years and write more complex and interesting pieces. If our goal is to make our students better writers, rhyming is a great way to achieve that.
What is Rhyme Poetry?
Rhyme poetry is when the writer uses words with similar sounds in the final syllables. Said simpler, the ends of the words sound the same. The reason that writers use rhyming in poetry is that it’s appealing to the reader. Readers love reading rhymes. Rhyming in poetry also helps to unify different words, lines, and ideas. The rhyme helps the reader to connect the different parts. Rhyming in poetry helps to define the stanzas. Even when a rhyming poem is heard the reader or listener can tell where the stanzas are because of the rhymes.
Rhyming also helps to create a rhythm in poetry and writing. We read with a beat or tempo in rhyming poetry and writing. There is also a sense of order to language in rhyming poetry and writing. Have you ever been reading a rhyming piece and you get tripped up because the rhyme doesn’t fit the order you expect? You go back and reread to figure it out.
Types of Rhyme Schemes
Types of rhyme schemes and types of rhymes in poetry are different concepts. Rhyme schemes are a repeating and predetermined pattern such as ABAB or ABAC. Here are some great articles all about rhyme schemes.
Types of Rhymes in Poetry
Types of rhymes in poetry can be classified in many ways, but I am going to try to simplify the process so it’s easy to teach to your students. The types of rhymes in poetry are broken into four categories for you: stressed syllables, sounds, location, and the location of stressed syllables.
Before we get started you need to know what stressed and unstressed syllables are. Stressed syllables are the syllables that are emphasized or have more oomph behind them. Unstressed syllables are quieter and less attention-getting. A couple of examples include although, wonder, incredibly, and amended. It’s easy to google a stressed syllable list if you’d like more examples.
Stressed Syllables Types of Rhymes in Poetry
Perfect Rhymes occur when the sounds in the stressed syllables match and any sounds that may follow the stressed syllable. For example, stressed and pressed | dead and head | egg and beg | ink and pink
Imperfect rhymes are when the rhyme is the stressed syllable in one word and the unstressed syllable of another word. These types of rhymes sometimes trip me up while reading to my son because I see the rhyme, but the sound isn’t perfect because of the stressed syllable. For example uptown and down |
Sounds Types of Rhymes in Poetry
Rhyming is all about sounds so it’s no surprise that there are so many ways to appreciate and categorize the sounds in our language.
Assonance is the repetition of vowel sounds such as loot and choose.
Consonance is the repetition of consonant sounds such as teacher and reach
Alliteration is the same sound at the beginning of a word. It can be a vowel or consonant. Example: Sherry shared shapes with Sheila.
Slant Rhyme is when the consonant (milk and walk) or vowel (heart and star) sounds repeat in the final syllables of words.
Pararhyme is an interesting type of rhyme. It’s is perfect consonance because all the consonants in two or more words are the same. For example robot and rabbit.
Forced Rhyme has two definitions that are commonly used. It can mean that the poet added a change in spelling like a contraction to make the rhyme work. It can also mean that the poet changes the syntax or grammar to make the rhyme work. This is the one our students will often do without knowing it.
Semirhyming is when two words will have the same sounds, but one of the words will have an extra syllable. Often the extra syllable comes from adding a suffix to a word such as -ing, -s, or -ed.
Eye Rhymes are when words look like they should have the same sounds because the spellings are the same, but the sounds are actually different.
Identical Rhymes are when words are spelled differently, but actually sound completely alike. Homophones are a great example of these: ate, eight | meet, meat | pain, pane.
Monorhyme is when a poem sticks to the same rhyme scheme the whole time. The pattern is AAAA. There is one rhyming sound.
LocationTypes of Rhymes in Poetry
Some rhymes are defined by where the rhyme occurs in the word. It isn’t always the end of the word. Let’s take a look.
End Rhyme is the rhyme we are the most comfortable with. Rhymes that occur in the final word or syllable of lines within a stanza.
Internal Rhymes are rhymes that occur within the lines of a stanza rather than at the end.
Broken Rhymes are when the poet breaks up the word with something like a hyphen to make their rhyme work.
Cross Rhyme is when the rhyming relationship is between the word at the end of a line and a word in the middle of a line.
Location of Stressed Syllables in Types of Rhymes Poetry
There is going to be some overlap in this section. You may have to go back to remind yourself of some of the other types of rhyming. This is all about where the emphasis or stressed syllables of the words are.
Single Rhyme is a perfect or slant rhyme when the emphasis (stress) falls on the final syllable. Not all perfect or slant rhymes are single rhymes.
Double Rhyme is where the stressed syllable is the second to last syllable or two from the end.
Dactylic Rhyme continues the pattern. It is when the stress falls on the third to last syllable.
These types of rhymes are interesting to identify and think about, but I think they can often be hard for our students. But having your students work on these types of rhymes will expand their thinking in so many ways
Knowing the Types of Rhymes in Poetry
Knowing the different types of rhymes can help you and your students use rhyme schemes and poetic forms more effectively.
Rhyme schemes are a pattern of rhyme used in a poem. We can track rhyme schemes by using letters to symbolize the pattern. In the rhyme scheme ABAB the A lines would rhyme and the B lines would rhyme.
Poetic forms are poems like limericks, odes, and sonnets that have a predetermined rhyme scheme that should be followed to write that type or form of poetry. Using poetic forms is a great way to help your students start writing rhyming poetry because it already has a guide built-in for them.
Rhyming Within Lines
Your students can also explore rhyming within the lines of their poem however they like. I talked about several kinds of rhymes that occur within the lines and we can let students test out how to use them.
More Poetry and Writing Tips and Resources
Here are some more great tips and ideas on how to include poetry in your classroom.
Here is Your FREE Prompt for Writing Poetry
I know that you needed a prompt to help kickstart your students’ writing. Here is an entire lesson for FREE. My Our School Poem guides students through using sensory language to describe their school. The step-by-step directions guide your class through the writing process with all the necessary worksheets make this the perfect lesson for your classroom.