Friday, April 3, 2015

Rereading For Fluency with Sarah Cynthia Silvia Stout

Today Poetry Friday is at The Poem Farm with Amy Ludwig VanderWater! Be sure to visit and check out all the great poetry posts. This month is extra special because April is National Poetry Month.

When I was in second grade, we held a poetry event. Students were partnered up and asked to draw a picture of a Shel Silverstein poem. We each had a different Shel Silverstein poem to prepare and recite. Technically, we were supposed to know it by heart but our teacher put the words on the back of our picture so we could peek at the words if we needed to. Where The Sidewalk Ends will always be one of my all-time favorite poetry collections. 
The poem I recite with one of my friends, was "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" and it is still one of my most favorite poems to read out loud. I was actually just talking to a friend about Dr. Seuss' The Sneetches and how keen Dr. Seuss was to be able address serious topics through picture books. Shel Silverstein reminds me of that. He seems to have addressed some serious topics in his poems as well. I've been thinking a lot about waste lately. I have a science teacher friend who has an indoor worm compost bin and I would love to get started...I just have to be brave enough to actually commit. I'm mostly worried about hurting the worms by over or under feeding them and about smelling up my house somehow. Maybe it'll be a summer project.

Today I'm rereading "Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out" and thinking about how wonderful this poem is for practicing fluency. Reading poetry is a perfect opportunity to think about timing and inflection, emotion fluidity in your voice. When we reread, we can practice fluency. The first time through, students familiarize themselves with the words, but when rereading, they can take the time to practice their fluency and to think about how to best read the words to make the biggest impact. And what an impact this poem has!

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout Would Not Take the Garbage Out
By Shel Silverstein

Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout 
Would not take the garbage out! 
She'd scour the pots and scrape the pans, 
Candy the yams and spice the hams, 
And though her daddy would scream and shout, 
She simply would not take the garbage out. 
And so it piled up to the ceilings: 
Coffee grounds, potato peelings, 
Brown bananas, rotten peas, 
Chunks of sour cottage cheese. 
It filled the can, it covered the floor, 
It cracked the window and blocked the door 
With bacon rinds and chicken bones, 
Drippy ends of ice cream cones, 
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peel, 
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal, 
Pizza crusts and withered greens, 
Soggy beans and tangerines, 
Crusts of black burned buttered toast, 
Gristly bits of beefy roasts. . . 
The garbage rolled on down the hall, 
It raised the roof, it broke the wall. . . 
Greasy napkins, cookie crumbs, 
Globs of gooey bubble gum, 
Cellophane from green baloney, 
Rubbery blubbery macaroni, 
Peanut butter, caked and dry, 
Curdled milk and crusts of pie, 
Moldy melons, dried-up mustard, 
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard, 
Cold french fried and rancid meat, 
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat. 
At last the garbage reached so high 
That it finally touched the sky. 
And all the neighbors moved away, 
And none of her friends would come to play. 
And finally Sarah Cynthia Stout said, 
"OK, I'll take the garbage out!" 
But then, of course, it was too late. . . 
The garbage reached across the state, 
From New York to the Golden Gate. 
And there, in the garbage she did hate, 
Poor Sarah met an awful fate, 
That I cannot now relate 
Because the hour is much too late. 
But children, remember Sarah Stout 
And always take the garbage out!

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