Presto Poems

What to do:

Poetry gives children opportunities to learn new words, ideas, and attitudes. It also is an
enjoyable method of developing listening skills. Presto poems are an activity teachers
can use to promote language development by helping children associate pleasure with

  1. Select or make up a simple poem such as:

    The Chartreuse Moose lost his tooth, and he began to cry. My tooth is gone, my tooth is gone! I cannot eat my pie.

  2. Recite the poem and encourage the children to join in.
  3. After a few repetitions, ask the children to substitute a few words.

    The Chartreuse Moose lost his ________, and began to cry.

    My ________ is gone, my ________ is gone!
    I cannot eat my pie.

  4. For older children, just give the first line or two of the poem and ask children to make up the rest of the poem.
  5. Try to incorporate strong rhythms, frequent rhyming, and action verbs in your poems. Be sure that words are within the children’s level of understanding. Start with themes and subjects that are familiar to the children and then let them be creative.