Right to Read Week Kickoff Presentation
Walnut Creek Elementary
This morning, I spoke to a group of students who had just finished some very rigorous testing at a time when most human beings would rather be climbing a tree, or riding a bike, or eating soup. I started the presentation by asking the school's principle, Mr. Ken Miller, to read the following poem, which nearly caused a riot (Children can very quickly become a mob, if one is not careful):
Good Morning, Dear StudentsBY KENN NESBITT“Good morning, dear students,” the principal said.“Please put down your pencils and go back to bed.Today we will spend the day playing outside,then take the whole school on a carnival ride.“We’ll learn to eat candy while watching TV,then listen to records and swing from a tree.We’ll also be learning to draw on the walls,to scream in the classrooms and run in the halls.“So bring in your skateboard, your scooter, your bike.It’s time to be different and do what you like.The teachers are going to give you a rest.You don’t have to study. There won’t be a test.“And if you’d prefer, for a bit of a change,feel free to go wild and act really strange.Go put on a clown suit and dye your hair green,and copy your face on the Xerox machine.“Tomorrow it’s back to the regular grind.Today, just go crazy. We really don’t mind.So tear up your homework. We’ll give you an A.Oh wait. I’m just kidding. It’s April Fools’ Day.”
Whatever You Doby Denice HazlettDon't forget to pack your books,your stories and your rhymesDon't forget to check the dateAt least nine hundred times.Don't forget to gas the car.Don't forget to eat.Don't forget to type your notesSo they'll all be nice and neat.Remember to be get lots of restthe night before you talk,And before you go to sleep,to set your alarm clock.And, maybe, most importantly,because there always is a chance...Oh, please, Denice, whatever you do,please don't forget your pants.
My Heroby Billy CollinsJust as the hare is zipping across the finish line,the tortoise has stopped once againby the roadside,this time to stick out his neckand nibble a bit of sweet grass,unlike the previous timewhen he was distractedby a bee humming in the heart of a wildflower.
Forgivenby A.A. MilneI found a little beetle; so that Beetle was his name,And I called him Alexander and he answered just the same.I put him in a match-box, and I kept him all the day ...And Nanny let my beetle out -Yes, Nanny let my beetle out -She went and let my beetle out -And Beetle ran away.She said she didn't mean it, and I never said she did,She said she wanted matches and she just took off the lid,She said that she was sorry, but it's difficult to catchAn excited sort of beetle you've mistaken for a match.She said that she was sorry, and I really mustn't mind,As there's lots and lots of beetles which she's certain we could find,If we looked about the garden for the holes where beetles hid -And we'd get another match-box and write BEETLE on the lid.We went to all the places which a beetle might be near,And we made the sort of noises which a beetle likes to hear,And I saw a kind of something, and I gave a sort of shout:"A beetle-house and Alexander Beetle coming out!"It was Alexander Beetle I'm as certain as can be,And he had a sort of look as if he thought it must be Me,And he had a sort of look as if he thought he ought to say:"I'm very very sorry that I tried to run away."And Nanny's very sorry too for you-know-what-she-did,And she's writing ALEXANDER very blackly on the lid,So Nan and Me are friends, because it's difficult to catchAn excited Alexander you've mistaken for a match.
The Swingby Robert Louis StevensonHow do you like to go up in a swing,Up in the air so blue?Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thingEver a child can do!Up in the air and over the wall,Till I can see so wide,Rivers and trees and cattle and allOver the countryside—Till I look down on the garden green,Down on the roof so brown—Up in the air I go flying again,Up in the air and down!
I Meant to Do My Work Todayby Richard Le GallienneI meant to do my work today—But a brown bird sang in the apple tree,And a butterfly flitted across the field,And all the leaves were calling me.And the wind went sighing over the land,Tossing the grasses to and fro,And a rainbow held out its shining hand—So what could I do but laugh and go?
Willie's Wartby Linda Knaus and Kenn NesbittWillie had a stubborn wartupon his middle toe.Regardless, though, of what he triedthe wart refused to go.So Willie went and visitedhis family foot physician,who instantly agreedit was a stubborn wart condition.The doctor tried to squeeze the wart.He tried to twist and turn it.He tried to scrape and shave the wart.He tried to boil and burn it.He poked it with a pair of tongs.He pulled it with his tweezers.He held it under heat lamps,and he crammed it into freezers.Regrettably these treatmentswere of very little use.He looked at it and sputtered,"Ach! I cannot get it loose!""I’ll have to get some bigger toolsto help me to dissect it.I’ll need to pound and pummel it,bombard it and inject it."He whacked it with a hammer,and he yanked it with a wrench.He seared it with a welding torchdespite the nasty stench.He drilled it with a power drill.He wrestled it with pliers.He zapped it with a million voltsfrom large electric wires.He blasted it with gamma rays,besieged it with corrosives,assaulted it with dynamiteand nuclear explosives.He hit the wart with everything,but when the smoke had cleared,poor Willie’s stubborn wart remained,and Willie’d disappeared.
Fancy Diveby Shel SilversteinThe fanciest dive that ever was doveWas done by Melissa of Coconut Grove.She bounced on the board and flew into the airWith a twist of her head and a twirl of her hair.She did thirty-four jackknives, backflipped and spun,Quadruple gainered, and reached for the sun,And then somersaulted nine times and a quarter-And looked down and saw that the pool had no water.
"LOOK! Mama! LOOK!It…it…it…has a long tail!And a lot of pages!"
YouYou are a catwho wants a fishbut is afraidto wet her paws
I'd RatherI'd rather drink muddy water, sleep in a hollow log,Than to stay in this town, mistreated like a dirty dog.
JABBERWOCKYby Lewis Carroll(from Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, 1872)`Twas brillig, and the slithy tovesDid gyre and gimble in the wabe:All mimsy were the borogoves,And the mome raths outgrabe."Beware the Jabberwock, my son!The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!Beware the Jubjub bird, and shunThe frumious Bandersnatch!"He took his vorpal sword in hand:Long time the manxome foe he sought --So rested he by the Tumtum tree,And stood awhile in thought.And, as in uffish thought he stood,The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,And burbled as it came!One, two! One, two! And through and throughThe vorpal blade went snicker-snack!He left it dead, and with its headHe went galumphing back."And, has thou slain the Jabberwock?Come to my arms, my beamish boy!O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!'He chortled in his joy.`Twas brillig, and the slithy tovesDid gyre and gimble in the wabe;All mimsy were the borogoves,And the mome raths outgrabe.
Instructionsby Neil GaimanTouch the wooden gate in the wall you neversaw before.Say "please" before you open the latch,go through,walk down the path.A red metal imp hangs from the green-paintedfront door,as a knocker,do not touch it; it will bite your fingers.Walk through the house. Take nothing. Eatnothing.However, if any creature tells you that it hungers,feed it.If it tells you that it is dirty,clean it.If it cries to you that it hurts,if you can,ease its pain.From the back garden you will be able to see thewild wood.The deep well you walk past leads to Winter'srealm;there is another land at the bottom of it.If you turn around here,you can walk back, safely;you will lose no face. I will think no less of you.Once through the garden you will be in thewood.The trees are old. Eyes peer from the undergrowth.Beneath a twisted oak sits an old woman. Shemay ask for something;give it to her. Shewill point the way to the castle.Inside it are three princesses.Do not trust the youngest. Walk on.In the clearing beyond the castle the twelvemonths sit about a fire,warming their feet, exchanging tales.They may do favors for you, if you are polite.You may pick strawberries in December's frost.Trust the wolves, but do not tell them whereyou are going.The river can be crossed by the ferry. The ferry-man will take you.(The answer to his question is this:If he hands the oar to his passenger, he will be free toleave the boat.Only tell him this from a safe distance.)If an eagle gives you a feather, keep it safe.Remember: that giants sleep too soundly; thatwitches are often betrayed by their appetites;dragons have one soft spot, somewhere, always;hearts can be well-hidden,and you betray them with your tongue.Do not be jealous of your sister.Know that diamonds and rosesare as uncomfortable when they tumble fromone's lips as toads and frogs:colder, too, and sharper, and they cut.Remember your name.Do not lose hope — what you seek will be found.Trust ghosts. Trust those that you have helpedto help you in their turn.Trust dreams.Trust your heart, and trust your story.When you come back, return the way you came.Favors will be returned, debts will be repaid.Do not forget your manners.Do not look back.Ride the wise eagle (you shall not fall).Ride the silver fish (you will not drown).Ride the grey wolf (hold tightly to his fur).There is a worm at the heart of the tower; that iswhy it will not stand.When you reach the little house, the place yourjourney started,you will recognize it, although it will seemmuch smaller than you remember.Walk up the path, and through the garden gateyou never saw before but once.And then go home. Or make a home.And rest.
A sleeper from the AmazonPut a nightie of his gra'mazon.The reason was thatHe was much too fatTo get his own pajamazon.
Introduction to PoetryBY BILLY COLLINSI ask them to take a poemand hold it up to the lightlike a color slideor press an ear against its hive.I say drop a mouse into a poemand watch him probe his way out,or walk inside the poem’s roomand feel the walls for a light switch.I want them to waterskiacross the surface of a poemwaving at the author’s name on the shore.But all they want to dois tie the poem to a chair with ropeand torture a confession out of it.They begin beating it with a hoseto find out what it really means.