Sunday, November 7, 2010

Poems Are More Than Sight Words - #222

Sight Words
Listed by Amy LV

Students - I wrote this poem to have a little bit of fun with sight words, words that we learn early on how to "spell in a snap" (Calkins).   I took the above list of twenty-five sight words and played around, trying to fit them all into my poem, kind of like those "hidden pictures" games from HIGHLIGHTS magazine.  Sometimes poems take on a lot of word play, inviting the readers to play along.  Concrete poems, like Thursday's "Milkweed", are like this too, wearing interesting shapes and inviting the reader to ask, "How should I read this poem?"  Jan Brett likes to hide little illustration hints in her books.  I hid some sight words here.  What might you hide in a poem?

Teachers and parents - the idea for this poem actually came from something that has been troubling me.  In workshops lately, many people have told me that they do share poetry with their children, but only for sight word and phonics practice.  I worry about this because it is much like saying nighttime prayers only to practice correcting a speech impediment or hugging babies, but only for the physical exercise it provides our arms.

Our days are full, and time is short.  Still, poems offer us so much more than sight word practice.  First poems give us laughter, love, beauty, nature appreciation, memories, healing, humanity.  Occasionally we might let poems do a little dirty work, just as we have to wash dishes and clothes.  But oh!  Each of us is so much more than a dish-doer or clothes-washer.  We are thinkers, dreamers, criers, gigglers, memory-holders...and poems give us ourselves in all of these shapes.  Reading and writing poems makes us more human, and this is reason enough to read and write poetry in school, at home, anywhere!

In the words of Emily Dickinson, "If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry."

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  1. Thank you for this poem! My students have fun finding the little words in their names - they will love this poem!

  2. Oh, Susan, thank YOU! I would love to hear how this goes (or even to see one of their circled poems!) :) This was funny to write - I am wondering if young children might have fun writing something like this together! A.