In this study, we used a quasi-experimental pretest–posttest mixed design to assess the effect of association instruction on students’ poetic creativity. Creativity was judged using the consensual assessment technique. A total of 64 fourth-grade students from two intact classes participated in the study. One class was assigned to the experimental group (n¼34) and the other to the control group (n¼30). Weekly for 5 weeks, the experimental group received 30 minutes of instruction in forming associations, and then each student composed a Chinese free verse based on a given association theme. The control group received traditional writing lectures prior to composing Chinese free verses. Three groups of judges assessed the completed poems (a total of 320 poems), evaluating their creativity on 14 dimensions. The judges included three expert teachers with at least 10 years of teaching experience in Chinese, three teachers who had won awards in nationwide Chinese writing contests, and three professors of children’s literature; the overall inter-rater reliability was .85. The experimental group showed greater creativity compared to the control group in number association (d¼1.09), picture association (d¼0.62), and free association (d¼1.07). This article also discusses how to select judges, assessment criteria for children’s poetic creativity, and techniques for association instruction to enhance children’s poetic creativity. Copyright © 2010 Taylor & Francis Group, an informa business.