Talk Talk

poem by Kate McCarroll Moore , illustrated by Christopher Nielsen

Learning Intention:


I am learning to experiment with voice effects so that I can present a poem with fluency and expression.


Success Criteria:

  • I can experiment with different emotions when reading aloud.
  • I can explain how emphasising different words changes the meaning of a text.
  • I can present a poem using voice effects and emphasis to convey emotion.


Oral language and communication:

Write the following sentence on the board:

I’ve lost my dog.

Put students into pairs and have them take turns saying the sentence to each other using the following emotions: devastated, furious, worried, confused, happy, terrified.

Discuss how each emotion changes the delivery of the line. For example, some students may have whispered the sentence when pretending to be terrified (changing the volume), some students may have said the sentence quickly when conveying worry (changing the pace), some students may have delivered the line in a high pitch voice when excited, and so on.

Discuss how the sentence changes meaning depending on which word is emphasised. Some sample discussion points are below.

Emphasis on “I’ve”: Implying the speaker is responsible, not someone else.

Emphasis on “lost”: Increasing stress on the fact the dog is lost.

Emphasis on “my”: Implying the speaker hasn’t lost someone else’s dog, but their own.

Emphasis on “dog”: Implying the speaker has lost a dog rather than a different animal.


Understanding text:

Display the poem Talk Talk for students to view, but don’t read aloud yet. Instruct students that while they read it silently, they should consider what emotion they would convey when reading it aloud, what words to emphasise, and where to change voice effects such as volume, pace and pitch. Discuss answers as a class.

Students may consider:

- The second “noisy” in the first line could be emphasised to show annoyance

- The text could be read angrily

- The text could be read wistfully

- The text could be read with frustration

- “Thanks”, “love” and “please” should be emphasised to show they’re the words the narrator wants translated

- There could be a pause between “heart to heart” and “and hand to wing” to show sincerity


Creating text:

In pairs, students select a stanza to perform together to the class. They should decide on an emotion with which to perform the reading, which will inform their choices of voice effects and emphasis.


Things for students to consider:

- What emotion will you use to read this poem?

- What words could be emphasised to help convey this emotion?

- How can you alter your pace/volume/pitch throughout the poem to convey this emotion?


Give students time to rehearse their performance before presenting to the class.


Assessment for/as learning:

Peers can fill out the following template for each performance:


The emotion conveyed was ____________________.

Did the pacing convey the emotion? Yes/No/Maybe

Did the volume convey the emotion? Yes/No/Maybe

Did the pitch convey the emotion? Yes/No/Maybe

What words did the presenters emphasise? __________________________

Did these emphasised words help convey the emotion? Yes/No/Maybe