How-To

14 Forms of Writing for the Older Student: Limericks

14 Forms of Writing for the Older Student: Limericks

If you ask a student to write a poem, his reaction may be … well, let’s just say less than enthusiastic!  The limerick makes a fun, easy introduction to writing poetry.  The form is already established, the writer doesn’t have to reach terribly deep for content, and limericks tend to be quicker to write than some other types of poetry.

Like all writing, limericks are easier to write after we have read, studied, and copied other limericks.

Suggestions
  • First, read several limericks to understand their form and nature.
  • Choose a favorite limerick to copy into your writing notebook.  You do have a writing notebook, right?
  • Now study the poem you have copied.
    • How many lines are there?
    • Which lines rhyme?  Note the rhyme scheme.  [AABBA]
    • Notice the pattern of a limerick.  Underline the syllables in the poem that are accented.
    • Write down the pattern under your poem.  For example, da DUM da da DUM da da DUM, etc.  This pattern is referred to as anapestic — two unaccented syllables followed by an accented syllable.
    • What mood do limericks convey?
  • Now write a limerick of your own.  You’ll find helps below.
  • Edward Lear is largely credited with the popularity of limericks.  Learn more about him.  (You’ll find resources below).
  • Lear used the same word at the end of the first and fifth lines instead of choosing two different rhyming words.  Write a new limerick that does the same thing.
  • Limericks can be written about any subject.  You’ll often find St. Patrick’s Day limericks, or limericks specific to certain fields of study such as physics, chemistry, or geography (see our Limerick unit study for an example).  Write a limerick about a subject you are particularly interested in.
  • Add a drawing, illustration, or sketch to your limerick page.

 

Additional Resources

A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear
A book full of limericks that can be read and copied.

“How awkward when playing with glue”
Fun limerick from Constance Levy.

“A bridge engineer, Mr. Crumpett”
Another fun limerick.

There Once Was…
Lesson plan from the National Endowment for the Humanities that uses limericks by Edward Lear to guide a student to creating his own.

Limericks
Information sheet at ReadWriteThink with guided practice.

Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}Drawing & Writing Notebooking Paper {Free Download}
Room at the top for illustrating and room at the bottom for writing a limerick.

The Limerick: A Unit StudyThe Limerick: A Unit Study
Although geared for younger students, you’ll find more resources, interactives, and notebooking pages that an older student might find helpful.

 

Enjoy the complete series:

14 Forms of Writing for the Older Student