Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Reader Response Poetry

Karyn Snell


Instead of a book report, why not have your students do a Cinquain poem about the book?


The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping, outlining, grouping related ideas, using graphic organizers, taking notes).

The student listens attentively to the speaker (including but not limited to making eye contact and facing the speaker).


-Book (student-selected or teacher-selected)
-Cinquain Poetry Sheet and student sheet (See attached file)


1. Discuss with students, prior to the student reading the book, what the reader response will be.
2. Photo-copy two or three Cinquain poems and display them in the writing center.
3. For each student, print one copy of the attached Cinquain Poetry Sheet and one copy of the student sheet. (See attached file.)


1. Share and post two or three Cinquain poems in the writing center. Remind students that Cinquain poems are fun and exciting to write.

2. To begin, teach students what a Cinquain poem is. Teach the students that it is a poem with five lines that will form a diamond-shaped pattern when finished.

Cinquain Poem (pronounced sin-kane)- Originally five lines, twenty-two syllables broken into 2-4-6-8-2 syllabic patterns; the form varies so one may use words rather than syllables.

Title (one word on first line)
Description (2 words on second line)
Verbs ending with -ing related to title (3 words on third line)
Emotions regarding title (4 words on fourth line)
Another word for the title (one word on fifth line)

4. Before you start reading the chapter book, hand out the attached Cinquain poetry sheet. Explain to the students that early on in the book they are to focus on a central idea, a topic they like (a character, setting, theme, etc.). Then explain to the students that on the back of the Cinquain Poetry sheet at the top, they need to identify the purpose for their writing. For example, they can write: The purpose for the following is to facilitate my Cinquain poem. Also, explain to the students that while you are reading the book, they need to be recording their thoughts on their central idea chosen on the back of the Cinquain Poetry Sheet. This will serve as notes for when the are in their affiliated learning groups.

5. When finished reading aloud a chapter book, place students in heterogenous writing affliation groups (four to six students per group depending on class size.) Give each student the attached Cinquain Poetry Sheet. (See attached file.)

6. Have students read the Cinquain Poetry Sheet for the directions on writing the poem. Remind the students that they need to choose a character, setting, theme, etc., represented in the book.

7. While in their groups, have the students take this time to brainstorm with each other or ask the teacher for specific help. If possible, give each group a copy of the book. Have the students organize their thoughts on the back of the poetry sheet using a web of their choice. Students are to create their own products but are encouraged to help and ask for help from their Cinquain affliation group.

6. As the teacher, take this time to revolve around the room, helping out and discussing Cinquain poetry with the different affliation groups.

7. When poems are finished, explain that the students will be sharing their poetry with the class. Discuss with the students that they need to listen attentively to the speaker, make eye contact and face the speaker while they are sharing their poems. The teacher should model this behavior, having one or two students talking at the front of the class while you sit with the other students. This gives the students a mini-lesson on listening to speakers, and it also provides the students time to practice this important skill.

8. Have each student share the title and author of the book and read their Cinquain poem to the class.

9. Peers should listen attentively, maintaining eye contact with the speaker. After all the students have shared, have the students check off the attached student sheet. (See attached file.)

10. Assess the students' poetry. (See Assessment.)


1. Constantly assess student involvement while rotating around the room during cinquain affiliation time.
2. Complete attached evaluation form for each speaker. (See attached file.)
3. Assess student sheet, evaluating the group and their peers in the affliation groupings.
4. Keep track and check off on student sheet if the student was listening attentively to the speaker.


This is a great lesson for all kinds of reader responses. Teachers can use this as an extension to literary circles. Students can write a Cinquain poem as a book report for a literary book they read independently.

Web Links

Web supplement for Reader Response Poetry
Giggle Poetry

Web supplement for Reader Response Poetry
Can Teach

Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.