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This week Poetry Friday is hosted at "the holly and the ivy."
This week Poetry Friday is hosted at "the holly and the ivy."

Salinger’s book Well Defined: Vocabulary in Rhyme provides me with a way to teach my students vocabulary and poetry simultaneously.  I’m passionate about both, which is why I was so excited to get my hands on this book yesterday.  Each poem contains a title (the word) and a definition at the bottom of each page, almost as if it’s a footnote to the poem.  The illustrations that go along with many of the poems further enhance the meaning of the words they accompany.  Here’s one of my favorites:

Incessant just doesn’t know when to quit

seemingly having no beginning

or end

that dog barking at all hours of the night

that friend who always borrows money

a toothache, an ulcer, bad dreams

the nagging of a parent or spouse

like water torture

incessant accumulates

overflowing the cup

never giving in

never giving up

Well Defined was written by Michael Salinger and illustrated by Sam Henderson.  It is new this month from Wordsong.  A review copy was provided by the publisher.  The poem, above, was reprinted with the Boyds Mills Press.

Stacey Shubitz View All

I am a literacy consultant who has spent the past dozen years working with teachers to improve the teaching of writing in their classrooms. While I work with teachers and students in grades K-6, I'm a former fourth and fifth-grade teacher so I have a passion for working with upper elementary students.

I'm the author of Craft Moves (Stenhouse Publishers, 2016) and the co-author of Jump Into Writing (Zaner-Bloser, 2021), Welcome to Writing Workshop (Stenhouse Publishers, 2019), and Day By Day (Stenhouse, 2010).

2 thoughts on “Well-Defined Leave a comment

  1. Judging by your last two posts, you might be interested in an article called “Grammar Matters: A Creative Writer’s Argument.” It’s by Anna Leahy. Here’s a link, though I’m not sure it will work.

    The interesting thing about the article is that it talks about grammar not as rules that writers have to follow, but as tools writers can use to guide their readers through a piece.


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