Dear Rider

poem by Lisa Varchol Perron , illustrated by Rosemary Fung

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify the ways that descriptive language informs readers so that I can use this understanding to create context clues in my writing.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify key phrases in a text
  • I can use context clues to guess the point of view of a text
  • I can compose a text using descriptive words and phrases to build imagery.


Essential knowledge:

Further information about using language to create imagery in writing can be found in the video Connotation, Imagery & Symbol.


Distribute sticky notes or small pieces of scrap paper to students and inform them that they will be guessing whose point of view the poem is written from. Explain that when they think they have figured it out they should write their guess on the piece of paper and keep it to themselves until instructed to show it.


Read the poem to the class without showing them the magazine, or if you have a digital subscription, you can play the audio version. Stop reading after the words ‘Yours truly’ so the students do not know who the poem is supposed to be from.


Read the poem a second time and ask students to identify key phrases that give context clues. These may include:


Adventuring up high

Round and round

I promise not to speed or flip

It’s not my aim to scare

Forged of fun and steel


Further discuss what the meaning of ‘Dear Rider’ may be. Students should identify that this is a text addressed to people who are going on a ride. Ask students to identify the point of view the poem is written from (first person) based on the language used (me, we, I). This information combined should allow students to figure out that the poem is written from the point of view of the ride.


Ask students to then use their key phrases to help them figure out the type of ride and give them time to revise and write their answer. Students should then hold up the answers they have written down so you can see who correctly guessed that the ride was a Ferris wheel.


Inform students that they will be writing their own version of the poem based on their choice of ‘ride’. Explain that this may also be a ride at an amusement park, or it may be something different that people ride, such as a see saw, a bicycle, a waterslide or a jet ski.


Students should follow the same rhyme scheme as the text (ABAB) and write at least two stanzas. However, students should not sign their ride’s name at the bottom.


Compose an example as a class or model one using the stanza below about a waterslide:


The water rushes through me

Carrying you round and round

There’s too much splashing to see

As the next riders counts down


Once their poem has been written, they should swap with a classmate and try to guess which ride the other student has written their point of view from.