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Using Rhythm to Perform Poetry

In this worksheet, students identify rhythm patterns in poetry by counting stressed and unstressed syllables. Students learn how to read poems out loud.

'Using Rhythm to Perform Poetry' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 2

Curriculum topic:  Reading: Comprehension

Curriculum subtopic:  Recognise Forms of Poetry

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10

One of the important features of a poem is its rhythm, which is the pattern the sounds make when we read them out loud.

 

Try reading this nursery rhyme out loud.

Mary had a little lamb,

Its fleece was white as snow.

And everywhere that Mary went,

The lamb was sure to go.

 

As you read aloud, you will have put more emphasis, or stress, on some words (and syllables) than others. If the poem is rewritten with the stressed syllables in bold capitals, it looks like this:

MARy HAD a LITtle LAMB,

It's FLEECE was WHITE as SNOW.

And EVeryWHERE that MARy WENT,

The LAMB was SURE to GO.

 

A stressed syllable is followed by an unstressed syllable each time. If you try reading the poem the other way round (so you put emphasis on the words that are not in bold capitals) it sounds very strange!

 

In this worksheet, you can practise reading different poems out loud and identifying their patterns of rhythm.

Read these lines from a nursery rhyme out loud.

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star,

How I wonder what you are.

 

Which of these versions shows the rhythm of the first line correctly?

 

1) TWINkle TWINkle LITtle STAR

2) TwinKLE twinKLE litTLE star

version 1

version 2

Now read these lines out loud.

 

Simple Simon met a pieman

Going to the fair.

Said Simple Simon to the pieman

Let me taste your ware.

 

Which version shows the rhythm correctly?

 

1) SIMple SImon MET a PIEman

2) SimPLE SiMON met A pieMAN

version 1

version 2

Look at the poem from the introduction again and count how many syllables are stressed in each line.

 

MARy HAD a LITtle LAMB,

It's FLEECE was WHITE as SNOW.

And EVeryWHERE that MARy WENT,

The LAMB was SURE to GO.

 

The first line has four stressed syllables (MAR, HAD, LIT and LAMB).

 

How many syllables are stressed in the second line?

2

3

4

Look again at Twinkle twinkle little star. Read the whole verse out loud and count how many syllables are stressed in each line. (It is the same number each time.)

 

Twinkle twinkle little star,

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

 

How many stressed syllables does each line have?

2

3

4

The poems so far have all had a rhythm pattern of one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable.

TWINkle TWINkle LITtle STAR.

MARy HAD a LITtle LAMB.

 

These can be seen as having a DA da DA da rhythm, but some poems have a different rhythm.

 

Read this line out loud.

Where are you going to, my pretty maid?

 

The rhythm is DA da da DA da da DA da da DA this time.

 

What rhythm does this line have?

How many days has my baby to play?

DA da DA da DA da DA da DA da

DA da da DA da da DA da da DA

What is the rhythm of the first line of this verse?

 

Old Mother Hubbard

Went to the cupboard,

To fetch her poor dog a bone.

DA da DA da DA

DA da da DA da

da da DA da DA

  • Question 1

Read these lines from a nursery rhyme out loud.

 

Twinkle, twinkle little star,

How I wonder what you are.

 

Which of these versions shows the rhythm of the first line correctly?

 

1) TWINkle TWINkle LITtle STAR

2) TwinKLE twinKLE litTLE star

CORRECT ANSWER
version 1
EDDIE SAYS
Version 1 is correct. The stress is on TWIN each time.
  • Question 2

Now read these lines out loud.

 

Simple Simon met a pieman

Going to the fair.

Said Simple Simon to the pieman

Let me taste your ware.

 

Which version shows the rhythm correctly?

 

1) SIMple SImon MET a PIEman

2) SimPLE SiMON met A pieMAN

CORRECT ANSWER
version 1
EDDIE SAYS
Version 1 is correct again. The stress is on SIM in 'simple' and SI in 'Simon'.
  • Question 3

Look at the poem from the introduction again and count how many syllables are stressed in each line.

 

MARy HAD a LITtle LAMB,

It's FLEECE was WHITE as SNOW.

And EVeryWHERE that MARy WENT,

The LAMB was SURE to GO.

 

The first line has four stressed syllables (MAR, HAD, LIT and LAMB).

 

How many syllables are stressed in the second line?

CORRECT ANSWER
3
EDDIE SAYS
The stressed syllables are FLEECE, WHITE and SNOW.
  • Question 4

Look again at Twinkle twinkle little star. Read the whole verse out loud and count how many syllables are stressed in each line. (It is the same number each time.)

 

Twinkle twinkle little star,

How I wonder what you are.

Up above the world so high,

Like a diamond in the sky.

 

How many stressed syllables does each line have?

CORRECT ANSWER
4
EDDIE SAYS
Each line has four stressed syllables (TWINkle TWINkle LITtle STAR).
  • Question 5

The poems so far have all had a rhythm pattern of one stressed syllable followed by one unstressed syllable.

TWINkle TWINkle LITtle STAR.

MARy HAD a LITtle LAMB.

 

These can be seen as having a DA da DA da rhythm, but some poems have a different rhythm.

 

Read this line out loud.

Where are you going to, my pretty maid?

 

The rhythm is DA da da DA da da DA da da DA this time.

 

What rhythm does this line have?

How many days has my baby to play?

CORRECT ANSWER
DA da da DA da da DA da da DA
EDDIE SAYS
The rhythm is the same as the rhythm of 'Where are you going to, my pretty maid?'
  • Question 6

What is the rhythm of the first line of this verse?

 

Old Mother Hubbard

Went to the cupboard,

To fetch her poor dog a bone.

CORRECT ANSWER
DA da da DA da
EDDIE SAYS
The stresses are on OLD and HUB.
---- OR ----

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