poem by Jess Horn , illustrated by Michel Streich

Learning Intention:

I am learning to examine poetry and the way language choices impact readers when a poem is read aloud, so that I can understand the importance of language in engaging readers and conveying ideas.

Success Criteria:

  • I can use the language features of a poem to inform the way it is read aloud.
  • I can effectively use appropriate volume, pace, pitch and expression when reading a poem aloud.
  • I can identify and discuss a range of language choices made by a poet.
  • I can change a model poem from third to second person.


Essential knowledge:

Resources regarding Literary devices can be found on the Department of Education website. This resource includes background information for teachers and learning activities for students.


Oral language and communication:

If you have a digital subscription, complete the interactive ‘Revising poetic devices’ prior to the activities below.

Organise the class into 5 groups and assign each group one stanza of the poem. Give the groups some time to read their stanza and prepare to read the poem aloud in a group reading. Ask students to mark on their poem the following:

  • Punctuation (full stops, commas, question marks, exclamation marks)
  • Rhyming words
  • Words which need emphasis
  • Where there should be a pause
  • Where there is a question – how does a question sound verbally?


Ask groups to also consider:

  • Volume
  • Pace
  • Gestures
  • Body language


Give students the opportunity to rehearse before bringing the class back together to conduct a dramatic group reading in which the groups read the poem as a whole from start to finish without stopping. This may require more than one attempt.


After reading the poem, discuss the way that the devices such as rhyme, rhythm, rhetorical questions helped guide readers in the way that they read the poem aloud.


Understanding text:

Have students complete a Jigsaw group activity. Ask students to return to the five groups from the reading aloud activity. Instruct groups to look at their given stanza from earlier in the lesson again. Students are to become ‘experts’ on their stanza. This means that they are to:

  • Decipher the main idea or question raised in their given stanza.
  • Discuss the perspective shown in the stanza.
  • Label the rhyming pattern.
  • Locate any important punctuation.
  • Locate figurative language and discuss how it engages readers.
  • Discuss what makes the stanza funny or playful.


Students now form new groups, each with one person from each of the previous groups. The new groups take turns, in order (Stanza 1 first, then stanza 2) to talk about their stanza, telling their new group what was discussed by the previous ‘expert’ group.

Creating text:

Bring the whole class together and discuss the use of first person in the poem.

  • Discuss what we know about the speaker in the poem (They are interested in the wind, they have a grandfather, they are creative and a little funny).
  • Discuss what we might assume about the speaker in the poem (Readers could assume that the speaker in the poem is a child. They refer to their grandfather and they use playful childlike language).
  • Ask students to think about what would be different if this poem was written in second person.


Show the class an example of how this poem could be changed into second person:


Have you ever wondered

How a thing like wind could be?

You cannot even see it,

Yet its strength can move a tree.


After seeing the model stanza, ask students the following:

  • When ‘I’ is changed to ‘you’ in the poem, how does the reader’s involvement change? (Suddenly the poem becomes about the reader, and not about the speaker in the poem and their thoughts and perspectives).


Have students work on the rest of the poem, changing it from first person to second person. Let students know that it is ok if things like rhyming patterns are not adhered to, or if they have to change some of the other ideas that is also accepted.


Assessment for/as learning:

Students complete an exit ticket, answering the following question:

  • Why are language choices such as first person, rhetorical questions, rhyme and humour important in poetry?