STOP THAT POEM: More Vocabulary Boosting through Poetry

Want to increase your students’ vocabulary and word consciousness? Write some word collection poetry!

I’m a big fan of using a WORD BOWL as a vocabulary builder and writing facilitator. In THIS POST, I explain how to set up and use a word bowl in your classroom. 

Recently, I discovered a fabulous mentor text for noticing and collecting words to write poems: STOP THAT POEM, by Eric Ode, illustrated by Jieting Chen (Kane Miller, 2021.)  In STOP THAT POEM,  children chase slips of paper filled with words as they whirl around a town. When they capture words, the children turn them into whimsical poems. This book is a joyful celebration of the power of words to delight and connect a community. It's also a great mentor text for using similes as a poetic device. 

There are many ways to use STOP THAT POEM as springboard for poetry writing. One idea is to take students on "word walk" outside after reading the book. Invite students to use their senses to notice their surrounds. (See THIS POST on taking a sensory hike.) Ask students to write down words that describe what they see, hear, smell, and touch.  Encourage them to use specific, interesting words and similes to enhance their descriptions.  Back in the classroom, cut all of the collected words into slips and put them in a bowl. Have students pull 4 or 5 words to weave into a poem, similar in style to the "word slip" poems in STOP THAT POEM.

Alternatively, if you've already started a class WORD BOWL, have students pull words from the bowl to write a poem.

No WORD BOWL yet? Try this online MAGNET POETRY resource to generate words for students to use for their poems. (I suggest using the KID'S KIT or NATURE KIT for age appropriate words.) 

With the help of STOP THAT POEM and word collecting, your students will soon see their poems "grow and climb, seed by seed, row by row, rhyme by rhyme."

Discover even more POETRY BOOST resources HERE,  and don't forget to sign up for the POETRY BOOST newsletter to stay updated on new poetry lessons, prompts, and mentor texts. 

About Michelle Schaub

Michelle Schaub is an educator and award-winning children's poet. She is the author of the picture book poetry collections Fresh-Picked Poetry: A Day at the Farmers’ Market, (which won the 2018 Growing Good Kids Award and 2019 Northern Lights Book Award,) and Finding Treasure: A Collection of Collections. She is also the author of two picture books in verse, the bedtime STEM book Dream Big, Little Scientists and Kindness is a Kite String: The Uplifting Power of Empathy. Her poems appear in several anthologies, including  A World Full of Poems and Hop to It: Poems to Get You Moving.  Michelle loves visiting schools and speaking at conferences on the power of poetry to boost literacy. Find out more at:


  1. Thanks for this fun and easy idea for word collecting. Another book that would work well with this activity is Word Collector by Peter Reynolds. If you take the book jacket off, lots of words appear. Once a poetry writing friend sent me an envelop of "word seeds". I'm thinking each student could make their own word collection in an envelop tucked into their notebook in a pocket. Thanks for this inspiration.


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