Poems for two voices

Our new book

Our new book

You may have heard Tim Rasinski speak if you’ve attended conferences where reading fluency was discussed. He’s a professor at Kent State University and is one of our leading authorities on the subject. I have a new book out with Tim and another expert on reading fluency, Gay Fawcett of Kent State and other universities.

The book, published by Scholastic Teaching Strategies, is called PARTNER POEMS FOR BUILDING FLUENCY, GRADES 4-6. I co-wrote the introduction and created 40 original two-voice poems. The idea is that children improve reading skills, including fluency, by sharing aloud poems for two or more voices.

 

If you have an interest in such a book, it’s now on the market. Confusingly, Scholastic has another book with an almost identical name with poems by Bobbi Katz. I don’t mind if you get her book too!

Here’s an example from our book. If you haven’t tried writing a poem for two voices, give it a whirl. It’s a great way to talk to yourself!

BRUSSELS SPROUTS
2 voices

(child)
What’s that green thing?

(parent)
Brussels sprouts.

(child)
I don’t want no Brussels sprouts.

(parent)
Any.
Come on, try some Brussels sprouts.

(child)
I don’t want no Brussels sprouts!

(parent)
Any.
These are special Brussels sprouts.

(child)
I don’t want no Brussels sprouts!

(parent)
Any.
Just one taste of Brussels sprouts.

(child)
If I taste these Brussels sprouts,
then can I have something else?

(parent)
Sure!

(child)
Ugh!
I hate these Brussels sprouts!

(parent)
Here’s some yummy cottage cheese, pickled beets, cauliflower,
lima beans, and chicken liver.

(child)
Please pass the Brussels sprouts.
I don’t want no chicken liver.

(parent)
Any.

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13 comments on “Poems for two voices

  1. This looks fun! I love poems for two voices, and I wish I had been aware of them and using them in my classroom when I taught.

    They’re fun to write and fun to perform. I’m sure this book will be a winner for teachers, David!

    • Thank you, Laura!
      After watching and listening to teachers sharing some of these poems aloud at a recent conference it occurred to me that poems for two voices would make great ice breakers at a party, whether for adults or children.

  2. Eventhough, i am in college it helps me a lot. i never wrote a poem in my whole life, so when i checked this website it was a great source that i have never ever seen in my whole life. thanks to davidlharrison
    my instructor gave as a homework writting a two voice poem and after reading this website it became easy for me.

    • Aliy,
      Maybe today’s post would be of interest to you. It’s about how I became a poet. I’ve invited comments from others, hoping to start a conversation that might be useful to students and others who may be interested in becoming writers.
      David

  3. Good morning, Aliy,

    I’m happy that you discovered my site and found it helpful. Thanks for letting me know. Please feel free to share the site with others who might like it and also let me know if you have other writing issues that I might attempt to discuss.

    With best wishes,

    David

  4. Hi. And thanks for reading and commenting on my poems from yesterday. That was very kind and generous of you. I very much appreciate your time and input.

    I found out about two voice poems by stumbling across Paul Fleischman’s book – Joyful Noise: Poems of Two Voices – in the library about two years ago. I would guess you’ve read it, but maybe some of your blog readers would like to know about it. Besides being amazed by the beauty of the language I was amazed that someone could bring me to love a wasp! Somehow that made me see how powerful children’s poetry can be.
    Thanks again…

    • Liz,

      I’m glad you mentioned Paul Fleischman’s book, Joyful Noise. It’s a good read and an outstanding example of poems for two voices.

      One good way to get into writing poems for two or more voices is to use the interview technique. One character meets a second character and they exchange information. Dialogue of some kind is often at the core of such poems.

      David

  5. I teach eighth grade reading and language arts. I like to use literature that we read as a class for writing poetry for two voices. Sometimes the students construct poems for characters who are in conflict with one another, and sometimes a student uses a character for one voice and himself/herself for the other voice. I love how this type of poem helps students see connections! Your book addresses younger children, but I think writing this type of poem (and other types) is a creative and thought-provoking way to respond to literature all the way through high school.

    • Hello, Karen,

      I think kids and adults enjoy poems for two voices. When Tim Rasinski and I read these aloud to teachers at conferences, they usually join to read their own favorites. I do the same thing during school visits to students of all ages. I don’t doubt that your eighth graders really get into reading two-voice poems and writing their own. You might consider sharing some on my blog.

      Also, I bet some of your enterprizing young poets could fashion two-voice poems inspired by my Poem of the Month Word Challenge. The word this month is root.

      Thanks for your comment.

      David

  6. Thank you very much. I was supposed to be writing a partner poem over the weekend,(assigned by my sixth grade teacher) but the only problem was that i didnt know what was one and didnt have an example to see what was one like. I looked it up but all i found was ads to buy the books. then i found this. I figured out what was one and did very well on it. Thank you and really like the poem you had written at the top

    • Dear ninja man,

      I’m happy that you found my blog and that it helped you understand more about poems for two or more voices. I love to write them and they’re great fun to read aloud before a group. Good luck with your poem!

      David

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