Catching the Moon

poem by Moe Phillips , illustrated by Rosemary Fung

Learning intention:

I am learning to use tone, pitch and pace so that I can improve my delivery when reading poetry aloud.  


Success criteria: 

  • I can consider how to use tone, pitch and pace when reading a poem aloud   
  • I can identify phrasing and intonation that should be stressed when reading 
  • I can perform a reading of a poem to my peers.  


Essential knowledge  

Ensure students understand the terms tone (the style of voice), pitch (how high or low it sounds) and pace (the speed the words are read).  


Prior to reading Catching the Moon, read aloud the poem Sock Monster, found on pages 32 and 33 of this issue of Blast Off. As you read, ensure you avoid any emphasis and that you ignore the sentence punctuation, running lines together. For example, read the following lines together without any pause at the full stop: 


A Monster lives inside my house. I’ve no idea where. 


The goal here is to use as poor tone, pitch and pace as possible.  


Discuss the following questions with students:  

  • How engaging was it listening to the poem? Why? 
  • What might the reader do to improve?  


Inform students that often emphasis relates to focusing on tone, pitch and pace. Display the poem Sock Monster and read it together. Discuss where emphasis might be added by using tone, pitch and pace, for example:  


  • Adding a pause at the end of each line 
  • Using pace to stretch out key words, for example ‘inside’ and ‘no idea’ 
  • Emphasising words such as ‘quite’ in line four, stanza one, by using pitch 


Discuss markings that could be noted on the paper version of the poem to instruct readers how to read the poem, for example: 

  • a diagonal line at pauses,  
  • underlining words to stretch,  
  • double underlining words where the pitch should change.  

Mark up the poem and experiment with re-reading the poem following the directions discussed.  


Again, reflect on the questions: 

  • How engaging was it listening to the poem? Why? 
  • What might the reader do to improve?  


Make comment on any improvements noted since the change in delivery. 

Inform students that poetry is often written to be read aloud, so that the rhythm can be heard clearly. Tell students that there are many public events where poetry is read aloud.  

Tell students that they will be experimenting with reading poetry aloud. Provide students with photocopies of Catching the Moon. Place students in pairs and instruct them to complete the following:  

  • Read the poem 
  • Discuss where tone, pitch and pace might be used when reading the poem aloud 
  • Note ideas of where to use tone, pitch and pace on the poem using the symbols decided on earlier   
  • Rehearse reading the poem  


Allow time for students to rehearse reading their poems. Place students with another pair and instruct them to read their poems to each other. Inform students that the words they choose to emphasise may differ between each group and that there are no right or wrong choices.  



Assessment as/of learning:  

Display the same questions from earlier and instruct students to respond to them after their peers perform their readings: 

  • How engaging was it listening to the poem? Why? 
  • What might the reader do to improve?  


Allow time for students to incorporate any feedback into their performances before selecting some students to read to the class. Comment on differences between the words students chose to emphasise.  

Finally, listen to the digital version of the poem on The School Magazine site to hear how the reader used tone, pitch and pace as they read.  

Prior to the end of the lesson, discuss the following question and instruct students to create an Exit ticket, noting their responses in their workbooks:  


How does using tone, pitch and pace impact the delivery of poetry?