10-second review: A selection of questions about poems likely to cause older elementary school students to respond.
Title: “Questions to Ask about Poems.” Patrick Groff. Elementary English (January 1975), 119-122. Elementary English preceded Language Arts as the elementary school publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Why is this a poem? Is it different from a story?
Why do people write poems? Why don’t they write stories instead?
Why did this poet write this poem? What kind of person do you think he or she is?
Are there people in this poem? If not people, animals, mineral material or vegetable life)?
Where does this poem take place?
Is this poem funny, fast, light, frightening, exciting, happy? What other word does this poem make you think of?
What things are there in this poem to see?
What things are described in this poem?
Did this poem try to teach you something?
What might make this a better poem? What part, if any, would you change?
Are there any words or ideas in this poem you do not understand?
Find a word in the poem you think is interesting.
What words rhyme in this poem?
Are there some words in one line of this poem that begin with the same sound?
Are there words in this poem that sound like what they mean? (whiz, pop)
Are the lines in this poem short or long? Can you guess why?
Are there any sentences in this poem that look as though they were twisted around?
Is there something said in this poem that is intended to mean something else than what it says?
What poetry language (figures of speech) is in this poem?
Can you say in one sentence what this poem is all about?
Comment: See if you can find other articles by Patrick Groff. He is a maverick. His articles are almost always interesting and unusual. RayS.