Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Vocabulary Acrostics

Lisa Loughlin, Laura Halstied | Published: May 13th, 2022 by K20 Center


Cover Image

Vocabulary Acrostics

This strategy is designed to increase student retention of new vocabulary terms by creating acrostic poems. An acrostic is a poem in which the first letter of each line spells out a vertical word, and each line contains a word or phrase associated with the vertical word.

Vocabulary Acrostics


Students write acrostic poems that describe or define new vocabulary terms. The acrostic strategy is flexible and can be structured to focus on explanations of the word, examples of the word, or specific grammatical phrasings.


  1. Introduce acrostic poems by explaining what they are and how they are written. Show an example to students or create an acrostic as a class.

  2. Have each student use a notebook paper to write their assigned term vertically.

  3. Ask students to use each letter as a cue to describe the term using a word, a phrase, or examples.

  4. Encourage students to use words they understand and are familiar with.

  5. An example of an acrostic poem using the term "simile" is as follows:

    • Seems to be used more often than realized

    • It uses "like" or "as" and sometimes "than"

    • Makes comparisons between unlike things

    • It's more obvious than a metaphor

    • Liliana is as sweet as an angel

    • Ethan laughs like a hyena

Acrostic Vocabulary. (n.d.). Straight Outta Class. Retrieved April 29, 2022, from