CommonLit Cozy Up to a Good Poem: Winter-Themed Poems for Elementary Students

6 Winter-Themed Poems to Engage Elementary Students

Colder weather doesn’t have to mean frozen content! These engaging and diverse poems about winter  on CommonLit’s free digital literacy platform invite elementary students into warm imagery to spark deep student discussions and support reading comprehension practice. From famous poems about snow to moodier poems about seasons, you’re sure to find a great one (or few) to use in your ELA curriculum.

Cat” by Marilyn Singer (3rd grade)

This short winter poem provides the perspective of a cat during December. The cat enjoys cuddling up next to a cozy fire.

After reading this poem, ask students to respond to Discussion Question 3, “Why do you think the poet chose to tell his poem from the point of view of a cat? How would this poem be different if it was written by the cat’s owner? As a creative extension, rewrite this poem from the point of view of the cat’s owner, using the same rhyme scheme as the poet uses in ‘Cat.’”

Thanksgiving At The Lake” by Megan Hoyt (4th grade)

The speaker of this poem shares their observations of a duck and their father, both on a frozen lake. This serene poem is written in the form of a Shakespearean sonnet and a great opportunity to expose elementary students to the structure and rhyme scheme!

After reading the winter poem, use the scaffolded assessment questions to check student understanding and prepare them for Assessment Question 5, “What theme does the poet share?”

Amelia’s First Ski Run” by Nora Marks Dauenhauer (4th grade)

This speedy poem about winter depicts Amelia and her grandfather skiing down a mountain. The poem is also a great opportunity to highlight an Indigenous writer - the poet is a Tlinglit language scholar from Alaska!

Screenshot of a short poem about winter, called “Amelia’s First Ski Run,” from the CommonLit Library.

Depending on where you live, your students may not be familiar with the sport of skiing. Build their background knowledge with the related media video “Welcome to Eaglecrest.” This short video will help them picture the setting and winter sports the poet vividly describes.

It’s Time to Celebrate Hanukkah” by Carol Gordon Ekster (4th grade)

In this short poem, the speaker describes many Hanukkah traditions. Ekster’s vivid details are sure to engage your students, making this a great text for highlighting how a poet can imagery from all five senses to captivate readers.

After reading this text, use Discussion Question 1 to encourage students to share their own holiday traditions through a creative writing extension where they write a poem about a holiday or special day using their five senses.

After The Winter” by Claud McKay (5th Grade)

This poem was written by Claude McKay, a Jamaican American novelist and impactful poet of the Harlem Renaissance. In this poem, the speaker hopefully remembers seasons past and future.

After reading the poem ask students Discussion Question 1, “Why does the poet use the seasons to represent feelings? If you were to think of a feeling that you associate with each season, what would it be and why?”

Dust of Snow” by Robert Frost (5th grade)

This famous Robert Frost winter poem describes how a seemingly unfortunate event alters his mood for the better.

Screenshot of a Robert Frost winter poem, called “Dust of Snow,” from the CommonLit Library

After reading the Robert Frost poem, provide students the opportunity to practice independent analysis with our Assessment Questions. This is a great poem to focus on theme. Ask students Discussion Question 4, “How does the final stanza contribute to the meaning of the poem?” to help them support their ideas of Frost’s theme with evidence.

Next Steps

Want more winter poems or seasonal text selections?  Browse the CommonLit Library!

Interested in utilizing all of CommonLit’s features to supplement your ELA curriculum? Sign up for one of our upcoming webinars to learn about our free digital literacy program!