The Breeze

poem by Robert Schechter , illustrated by Anna Bron

Learning intentions: 

I am learning to experiment with vocal techniques based on the language in texts so that I can become more expressive in my reading. 


Success criteria: 

  • I can experiment with vocal techniques such as tone of voice and word emphasis. 
  • I can vary the vocal techniques appropriately for the language throughout the poem.  
  • I can collaborate with a partner to plan and record a well-thought-out interpretive reading of the poem. 

Essential knowledge: 

More information about communicating using sounds and tone of voice can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Code and Convention. 

Have students read the poem silently. When they are finished, discuss the fact that we may read things differently to the way someone else does, accentuating different words and using different tones. 

Go through the poem together one stanza at a time and ask for students’ opinions on how they may be read. This may include: 

‘The breeze is a creature that loves loop-de-loops’ (e.g., the word love may be accentuated by reading it louder or making it longer). 

‘soaring and gliding in daredevil swoops’ (e.g., this line may be read with a fast, dramatic tone to highlight the action being described). 

‘but me? I’m a creature with feet on the ground’ (e.g., the words ‘but me’ may have a higher pitch to indicate it is a question, and then a more confident tone to denote the certainty of the answer). 

‘happy to be here all safe an all sound’ (e.g., this may be said in a calmer manner to express the feeling of safety and comfort). 

Ask students to volunteer to read aloud and assign one stanza to each of them. If there are enough willing students, this may allow for two or three read throughs to demonstrate different interpretations and expressions. If you have a digital subscription, you may also wish to play the audio recording as another example. 

If electronic devices are available, students should then pair up to make a recording of their interpretation of the poem. They should pay attention to the words they are reading and consider how they can best express that vocally for an audience. Partners should discuss their ideas and practice together, then read two stanzas each for their recording. They may also wish to incorporate sound effects in the background from Find Sounds.