Just One Valentine’s Day Poem Helps Teach the -ine Word Family

The vocabulary word valentine provides a natural opportunity for teaching the -ine word family. As I’ve said before, just one poem can teach a wide variety of language skills.

This Valentine’s Day poem certainly targets some phonics with the -ine word family, but there are several other ways to stretch learning into other language arts or reading strategy lessons as well. Check out some extra ideas listed at the bottom of this post.

As I wrote this Valentine’s Day phonics poem, I could just imagine the poor little pig in love with a prickly porcupine. Oh dear…well, every relationship has its share of challenges!

I Pine for Madeline

Although I’m just a country swine

and you’re a porcupine,

I know our hearts could intertwine

just like a jungle vine.


I’ve pined away for hours

Oh Madeline, divine

I wonder if you’ll dine with me

tonight at half-past nine?


I may decline to hug you

with quills upon your spine,

but still I’d be your valentine

I hope you will be mine.

© Lorrie L. Birchall

"I Pine for Madeline," Valentine's Dayphonics poem by Lorrie L. Birchall

A few extra teaching ideas for using the poem:

  • Phonemic Awareness & Rhyme: Without showing a printed copy, read the poem aloud and have students just listen to it. Have them identify when they hear the -ine word family words. Of course, all the word family words rhyme because they share the same ending rime (-ine).
  • Make & Break Words: Using magnetic letters, build the -ine family words that are in the poem. Extend learning even more by making some -ine words not in the poem (shine, whine, recline, nineteen, coastline, etc.)
  • Vocabulary: Discuss the meaning of the -ine vocabulary words, especially swine, intertwine, pined, divine.
  • Contractions: Teach how two words can be contracted such as the contractions in the poem, I’m (I am), you’re (you are), I’ve (I have), you’ll (you will), I’d ( would)
  • Writing: Using a dry erase marker, have students write the poem’s word family words on a dry erase board.
  • Teach Word Pattern silent/bossy e: The -ine word family follows the silent/bossy e word pattern. In this pattern, the silent e at the end of the word makes the medial vowel a long vowel sound. Extend learning by teaching other words with the same pattern, but that contain a different medial vowels (i.e. lake, home, flute, Pete)
  • Figurative Language: Have students identify the simile in the poem (“I know our hearts could intertwine, just like a jungle vine.” What does that mean?
  • Comprehension: Print out the FREE cloze procedure page included with the FREE poem link below.

Click here for a free printable of this poem (with a bonus cloze procedure page). 

Sneak a little phonics into your February language arts lessons with this FREE Valentine’s Day phonics poem!

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