poem by Jenny Erlanger , illustrated by David Legge

Worksheet: 1

Analyse the poem selecting key words to emphasise before reading aloud with fluency and expression.

Read the poem aloud to students, using a monotone voice and with minimal expression or rhythm. Discuss the following questions:

Did you find listening to the poem engaging? Why/why not? (e.g. it wasn’t very engaging as the reader’s voice remained in the same tone)

What would have made listening to that poem engaging? (e.g. if the reader had used more expression)

Listen to a reading of The Great Escape Artist on The School Magazine YouTube channel. Discuss how the reader emphasises key words. Ensure students identify that the reader stretches some words and makes them longer using pauses and their tone of voice to create emphasis. Use the first section of the accompanying worksheet to collaboratively mark-up which words are emphasized in the reading by underlining them.

Discuss students’ responses.

Re-read the first stanza of Scarecrow again. Discuss which words are most important in the stanza (e.g. ‘wonder,’ ‘brand-new,’ ‘fatal’ and ‘scratch’). Inform students that choosing which are the key words can be subjective and opinions on which words are most important may differ. Tell students that the words they have identified will be the ones they should emphasise when reading aloud.

Refer students to the second section of the worksheet. Mark up the words identified, underlining them on the copy of the poem.

Re-read the stanza emphasising the key words by stretching them or pausing directly before or after these words.

Allow time for students to practise reading this stanza with a partner putting emphasis on the words identified.

Place students in pairs. Instruct them to work through the remainder of the poem, marking up on their worksheet which words to emphasise. Instruct students to rehearse reading the poem, emphasising the words they have selected.

Match pairs together and instruct students to perform the poem to the peers, placing emphasis on the words they have selected.

Discuss responses drawing students’ attention to examples were students may have chosen to place the emphasis on different words.