The Connection between Poetry and Music

Lesson Introduction

Music helps children develop rhythmic intelligence and notice rhythm in language, which are important skills in learning how to read and developing fluency as readers. In this lesson, students listen to poems read aloud, and they discuss the rhythm and sound of poetry. Students then perform poems using musical instruments to emphasize cadence. Using online tools, they learn about line breaks and the way these affect the rhythm of a poem. Finally, students write poems they believe will be enhanced by music and perform them for the class.

Learning Objectives

In this lesson, students will have opportunities to:

  • Acquire knowledge and appreciation for beat and meter in poetry by listening to poems that are read aloud and discussing them as a class.
  • Learn about the structure of poetry using an online tool to explore line breaks.
  • Practice critical thinking by looking for poems that can be appropriately performed using musical instruments to emphasize rhythm.
  • Apply the knowledge they have acquired about rhythm in poetry to their own poetry compositions.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the role of music in enhancing the rhythm in poetry by using music to perform both their own poems and those written by others.

Materials and Resources

To teach this lesson, you will need:

  • Rhythm instruments
  • Computers with Internet access
  • LCD display monitor (optional)
  • Line Break Explorer The interactive explores the ways that poets choose line breaks in their writing. After viewing the demonstration, students are invited to experiment with line breaks themselves.
  • Poetry List (printout)
Lesson provided by, a website developed by the International Reading Association and the N.C.T.E.

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