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The kites

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By Daphne Lister

An inspiring and yet simple poem by Daphne Lister. The poem has some rhyming words that the children will soon grasp and some spelling patterns that can lead to discussions about alternative ways of spelling phonemes.


Shared learning and teaching

Shared reading

  • Look at the poster together. Can the children tell you what sort of text this is? What are the features of a poem? What do they think the poem is going to be about? Did they think of kites in the sky when they were outside?
  • Cover the rhyming words with sticky notes and read through the text with the children. Can they guess what the rhyming words are?
  • Remove the sticky notes and compare the children’s ideas with those of the poet.
  • Make a list of the rhyming words. What do the children notice about the spelling patterns in them?
  • Discuss in pairs what the children would see if they were a kite.


Before sharing the poem with your class, go outside and look up in the air. Ask the children what they can see. Talk about things that they might see in the sky that they cannot see at the moment.

Previous learning

Children should have read poems previously and be aware that they have a different layout to prose.

Shared writing

  • Use ‘The kites’ to scaffold a class poem. Model writing it, beginning:

Up in the air
See the kites fly
  • Ask the children to work in pairs to think of similes that would describe the flight of the kite. Encourage them to write their ideas on individual whiteboards to be shared with the class later. Challenge more able children to think of a sentence where the last word rhymes with fly.
  • Listen to some of the children’s ideas and then choose one of them to finish the first verse with.
  • Make up two more verses to complete the class poem. You could take verses 4 and 5 to model the rest of your poem on:

What fun it would be
To look right down...

Children to continue with next two lines imagining what they would see.

The people below
Would stand and stare...

Children to think of ideas to finish the verse.

  • When the poem is complete, insert relevant clipart pictures and sounds using software programs.
  • Print the poem out and give a copy to each child. They can practise reading it and add their own illustrations.

Key learning outcomes:

  • To read more challenging texts which can be decoded using their acquired phonic knowledge and skills, along with automatic recognition of high frequency words;
  • To recognise the main elements that shape different texts;
  • To create short simple texts on paper/screen that combine words, images (and sounds).

Guided group and independent activities

  • Ask the children to mindmap all the things they would see up in the air.
  • Look at the words air and stare. Discuss the spelling pattern and sound of the two words. Can the children think of another way to spell air/are (bear, there, mayor)? Make a list of all the words that end in the phoneme air. (Letters and Sounds Phase 5)
  • As an extension activity, ask children to consider the phoneme ie, and the various ways to spell ie. Find words in the text that illustrate this (sky, fly).
  • Encourage the children to read the poem through independently, to practise getting the rhythm and syntax correct.
  • Ask the children to design kites and create labelled diagrams, then make the kites during a D&T lesson.
  • Invite the children to look through poetry books to find other poems about things in the air. They can practise reading the poems they find and recite them to the rest of the class later.
  • Children can use the writing frame below to compose their own version of Daphne Lister’s poem. Remind them to use their ideas from the shared reading session, especially similes. Challenge more able children to try to make the poem rhyme.
  • When their poems are complete, the children could use a publishing program such as 2Publish (or a basic word processor and clip art) to publish their poem for a class anthology or to display. Alternatively they could write the poem in their best handwriting.


Share the children’s poems. Look at how they have been set out on the page. Are there full stops and capital letters? Does any of it rhyme? Can anyone think of sentences to make the poem rhyme? Discuss the similes used in each poem.


  1. Grace Kelly
    on 14 September 2013

    The Kites poem

    Thank you for the practical ideas when using this delightful poem. I don’t know if I would highlight the various spellings as it might confuse my class. I have a number of ideas to use the poem with kindergarten through to Year 6 students.


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