Line Breaks

Oct 26, 2009 by

Writing Trait/Strategy:

poetry; presentation trait

Mentor Text Suggestions:

Any collection of poetry


Line breaks set the rhythm of a poem and create the white space and shape of the poem. Copy several poems onto overhead transparencies. Have students compare the way poetry and prose looks on a written page. Lead them to notice that poetry “looks” different. Have them experiment with different places for line breaks in their own poetry. Encourage them to read the poems aloud and listen for the effect that line breaks have on the poem. Line and stanza breaks are ultimately up to the poet, but a good rule of thumb is to break on nouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Have students play around with the line breaks until the poem looks and sounds the way they want it to. In general, free verse poetry should be capitalized and punctuated like prose (not a capital at the beginning of each line).

Student Sample:

Flag Poem Draft Flag Poem Line Breaks Revised

             Rough Draft                                           Line breaks revised

Related Posts

Share This