Best Poems for ESL Students

Poems can be a powerful method of learning English and creating thoughts about it. The poem is famous for making lovers sigh and is generally thought of to be more sophisticated literary. Sure, it may be this way. But, you might not know that studying English through poetry is easy and enjoyable. 

Poems can be a valuable source for the teacher and the student. They’re not just an excellent opportunity to learn the language’s intonation and stress patterns, but they can be used for a wide variety of tasks, for example, identifying the contents or discussing how they impact the reader and, for younger pupils, drawing different scenes. 

However, many lines a poem contains, or whether it’s written, composed in English or your language of choice, you have to understand the meaning the author wants to convey through the lines.

5 Best Poems for ESL Students:

  • The School Boy (William Blake):

It is logical that the boy who talks of his experiences in “The School Boy” is the main speaker. He describes how joy it is to get up early in the summer morning to hear birds singing and huntsmen honking their horns. The schoolmaster’s strict “cruel eye” makes attending class anything but pleasurable. The students are unhappy at “sighing and dismay,” The teacher is sitting in a chair slumped with a sense of fear and frustration in his ability to learn.

  • Song of Myself (Walt Whitman):

The most well-known and popular poem in Walt Whitman’s famous collection Leaves of Grass, chosen by Jay Parini as the most outstanding poetry ever composed by a poet in the United States. 

In this self-written masterpiece, Whitman “reinvents American poetry,” according to Parini, “creating cadences that seem entirely his own yet keyed to the energy and rhythms of a nascent nation waking to its voice and vision.” Whitman addresses all poets that have followed Whitman and cite Ezra Pound in “A Pact,” who wrote that Whitman “broke the new wood.”

  • As You Like It (William Shakespeare):

Shakespeare’s famous speech in As You Like It, All the World’s a Stage is a comparison of life and a play and provides all the “seven ages” of man, from the baby “puking in the nurse’s arms” to the “second childishness” of the toothless, blind, and forgetful man who is nearing death, is an excellent book to study in the classroom. 

It is a great idea to ask your students to consider what they think the seven ages of their lives to be before beginning to read. When you have finished reading, you may discuss whether or not you believe that the “seven ages of women” remain valid in the 21st century.

  • Anything (Ellen Hopkins):

It is more challenging to convince students to read poetry than to get them hooked on the book, in part because most middle and high school students are plot-driven because so many ESL techniques for reading are unsuccessful when it comes to poetry, a piece of work which is mainly based on syntax and not the development of a story could soon turn into a language that is not suitable for students with limited English. 

The works of Ellen Hopkins do excellent standalone readings at the end of class for a poetry section but are admittedly a bit dramatic for my taste. Her bestsellers and award-winning books are written entirely in poetry and centered around issues that matter to young people, like drug use, dating, and relationships with family. Hopkins composes exciting and easy-to-comprehend novels, weaving a captivating story in the ebb & flow of lyrical prose.

  • This Is Just to Say (William Carlos Williams):

Several significant American poets from the contemporary period, William Carlos Williams, published “This is Just to Say” in 1934. Walt Whitman, another American poet, started an era of poems that reflected the poet’s lifestyle and didn’t adhere to strict guidelines as a model for Williams. 

Williams chose to write poetry about his everyday life since he was fascinated by the idea. He was especially interested in urban life and the United States. Based on a note Williams left on his wife’s fridge, “This Is Just to Say” was written. The note advised his wife that he’d consumed the plums, which she was likely to take shortly.


Students’ curiosity about the language might be stimulated by the introduction of engaging and captivating English poems. It can also enhance their ability to think critically and be creative. Learners will be able to comprehend their surroundings better and appreciate the significance of engaging with words in meaningful ways by reading poems of all kinds. 

Students can be interested in learning and reciting an appropriate, engaging poem for their age. Children also love poems about animals and nature. You can ask your child to express their ideas in poems to unleash their creative abilities. 

If you’re interested in taking English classes, it is possible to find an excellent tutor by searching for teachers near me. With the resources of AmazingTalker, You can enroll in online English classes for one-on-one tutoring.

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