Wednesday, July 15, 2020

Writing in Rhyme

Rhyming, when done right, is a wonderful way to engage children. 

Children, as soon as they’re able, love to rhyme words . . . and this can begin as early as two-years-old: cat-hat, mouse-house. But, to write a rhyming story, a well written rhyming story, is difficult.

You need a good story, rhyme, rhythm/beat, meter, stresses, and more—all this in addition to the already unique rules and tricks in writing for children. And, some writers just don’t have that innate ability to do rhyme well. But, it can be learned.

According to Delia Marshall Turner, Ph.D., the elements of poetry are: voice; stanza; sound; rhythm; figures of speech; and form.

Breaking each element down:

- Voice (the speaker)
- Stanza (the format of lines grouped together)
- Sound (rhyme and other patterns)
- Rhythm (the beat and meter – the pattern of stressed and unstressed syllables)
- Figures of Speech (types of figurative language)
- Form (the type of poem, its design)

Along with this there is perfect rhyme, and approximate rhyme:
Perfect rhyme: tie/lie; stay/day
Approximate rhyme: top/cope; comb/tomb

And, there are many more bits and pieces that go into writing poetry/ rhyme. But, the foundation that holds your rhyming story all together is the story itself—you need a good story, especially when writing for children.

Another great source of rhyming information is the article, “To Rhyme or Not to Rhyme” by Dori Chaconas, in the Writer Magazine, October 2001: “You may write in perfect rhyme, with perfect rhythm, but if your piece lacks the elements of a good story, your efforts will be all fluff without substance. I like to think of story as the key element, and if the story is solid, and conducive to rhyme, the rhyme will then enhance the story.”

This is a wonderful explanation because it mentions “if the story is solid, and conducive to rhyme.” This means that not all stories will work in rhyme, and the writer needs to know whether his will or will not.

So, if you’re interested in writing in rhyme, there are a number of sites and articles online that can help, there are also books available, and classes you can take. Do a Google search for the tools that are right for you.

A great place to start is: 

This article was first published at:

Karen Cioffi is an award-winning children’s author. She runs a successful children’s ghostwriting and rewriting business and welcomes working with new clients.

For tips on writing for children OR if you need help with your project, contact her at Writing for Children with Karen Cioffi.

You can follow Karen at:

Check out Karen's newest picture book: The Case of the Plastic Rings.


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Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I enjoyed this reminder. And YOU are the expert in children's writing, Karen. Just an effort at being a bit oblique, here, I have found that even poetry intended for adults can benefit from rhyme. We seldom think of adult poetry, in terms of a story, right? I happen to prefer slant rhyme and internal rhyme for adult "stories," but as long as the story structure doesn't lost, rhyme can add a lot. And what about headlines which are often so dull!
Thanks for this!

Terry Whalin said...


This post about writing in rhyme shows us the skill and effort that goes into writing an excellent children's book. Parents read these books over and over to their children--and wrongly believe they are simple to write and publish. Nothing could be further from the truth and you've given writers great tips and tools to learn how to write in rhyme. Thank you,


Karin Larson said...

Writing in rhyme is very difficult but, goodness, it is so satisfying and fun when one finds just the right combo of all of the above. Thanks for the great post.

Linda Wilson said...

Hi Karen, thank you for your excellent article on rhyme. I've only written a few poems and have not attempted a rhyming book for children yet. But you've given me all the pointers I need to give it a try!

Karen Cioffi said...

Carolyn, such great tips. I never thought of adding rhyme to titles! What a great idea.

Terry, writing rhyme does take a lot of work. I haven't mastered it and pretty much have given up on it. But, for those who can write an engaging, fun, rhyming story for children, it's an amazing feat.

Karen Cioffi said...

Karin, thank so much for stopping by. Haha. Yes, rhyme is difficult. My first self-published book is a rhyming bedtime story, Day's End Lullaby. It's a story version of a lullaby I wrote to help get my children to sleep when they were babies.

Linda, I wrote a lot of poetry as a teen. Nowadays, it's much too much work. I'll stick to prose! I'm glad the article was helpful.

deborah lyn said...

Thank you Karen! Love this post, even though I'm terrible at it and therefore don't write rhyme. It's fun to read others!

Karen Cioffi said...

Deborah, ha, ha. It really is difficult to write rhyme - that's why I avoid it too!

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