The following protocol is for use in an instructional setting. This isn't necessarily how you would need to share poetry with children. Sometimes just reading and enjoying the poem is completely fine and often preferred.
Read the poem aloud.
Ask students to listen and visualize.
What did you notice?
What does this poem make you think of?
What does it make you wonder?
What words or phrases did you like?
What images stuck with you?
Why do you think the author wrote this poem?
What poetry should I use?
Kids absolutely love Shel Silverstein's poetry. When we think of his poems, we tend to think of the silliness. But many of his poems are so thoughtful and thought provoking. Also, some are very short. The following are a few of his poems that would be incredible to discuss with students.
INVITATION (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er, a magic bean buyer…
If you’re a pretender, come sit by my fire
For we have some flax-golden tales to spin.
HOW MANY, HOW MUCH (A Light in the Attic)
How many slams in an old screen door?
Depends how loud you shut it.
How many slices in a bread?
Depends how thin you cut it.
How much good inside a day?
Depends how good you live ‘em.
How much love inside a friend?
Depends how much you give ‘em.
LISTEN TO THE MUSTN’TS (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
Listen to the MUSTN’TS, child,
Listen to the DON’TS
Listen to the SHOULDN’TS
The IMPOSSIBLES, the WON’TS
Listen to the NEVER HAVES
Then lost close to me--
Anything can happen, child,
ANYTHING can be.
MASKS (Every Thing On It)
She had blue skin.
And so did he.
He kept it hid
And so did she.
They searched for blue
Their whole life through,
Then passed right by--
And never knew.
UNDERFACE (Every Thing On It)
Underneath my outside face
There’s a face that none can see.
A little less smiley,
A little less sure,
But a whole lot more like me.
HUG O’WAR (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
I will not play tug o’ war.
I’d rather play hug o’ war,
Where everyone hugs
Instead of tugs,
Where everyone giggles
And rolls on the rug,
Where everyone kisses,
And everyone grins,
And everyone cuddles,
And everyone wins.
COLORS (Where the Sidewalk Ends)
My skin is kind of sort of brownish
Pinkish yellowish white.
My eyes are grayish blueish green,
But I’m told they look orange in the night.
My hair is reddish blondish brown,
But it’s silver when it’s wet.
And all the colors I am inside
Have not been invented yet.
YEARS FROM NOW (Every Thing On It)
Although I cannot see your face
As you flip these poems awhile,
Somewhere from some far-off place
I hear you laughing—and I smile.
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