Create a Found Poem

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What You Need:

  • Pair of old sunglasses or glasses frames
  • Stickers
  • Paint
  • Glitter
  • Glue
  • Pen or pencil
  • Notebook
  • Sources of words, such as old newspapers, magazines, grocery lists, advertisements, homework assignments, outdated encyclopedias, and so on

What You Do:

  1. Make a pair of poetry glasses. Start with an old pair of sunglasses or empty glasses frames. Let your child decorate them with stickers, paint, glitter, glue, and any other art supplies you have handy.
  2. When the poetry glasses are finished, encourage him to put them on. They're there to remind him that he is trying to look at the world in a new way.
  3. Allow him to search for words to make into found poems. Advertisements, grocery lists, and old homework assignments are all good sources. However, it is best not to use words that are already stories or poems themselves.
  4. Any words that strike your child as beautiful, funny, or unusual can be used as poems. He may look for:
    • Words that rhyme or sound alike
    • Odd phrases that make up parts of sentences (“Mary Williams goes to Hollybroke Elementary School” could become “Holly broke elementary school.”)
    • Funny typos or grammatical errors
    • Anything else that grabs his attention
  5. Have him write the words he finds into his notebook, adding a title, line breaks, and punctuation marks. If he wishes, he may use words from several sources or add words of his own.
  6. Take the time to discuss the differences between writing a found poem and making a poem up yourself. When he writes a found poem, the original writer is someone else (or several other people). Impress upon him that it's very important to record where he got the words he used. If the name of the original author is available, he should write it down. Otherwise, he could simply make note of the location(s) where he found his poem.

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