How to teach a poem to your kids in less than 2 minutes

How to teach a poem to your kidsDay 18 of 31 Days of Poems for Kids:  I Cry by Tupak Shakur. There are times when a poem speaks of the sadness of a moment; a  poem that is so concentrated that we are affected more immediately and more intensely than in any other form of literature. Allow your children to feel this moment of pain and sadness through 20th century poet/rapper Tupak Shakur.  Shakur’s raw emotions of feeling alone come to life in his poem I Cry as he translates his sadness into tears, and into words that children understand…

How to teach a poem

How to teach a poem

Are you ready for this poem?

I Cry by Tupak Shakur

Sometimes when I’m alone
I Cry,
Cause I am on my own.
The tears I cry are bitter and warm.
They flow with life but take no form
I Cry because my heart is torn.
I find it difficult to carry on.
If I had an ear to confide in,
I would cry among my treasured friend,
but who do you know that stops that long,
to help another carry on.
The world moves fast and it would rather pass by.
Then to stop and see what makes one cry,
so painful and sad.
And sometimes…
I Cry
and no one cares about why.

How to teach a poem to high school kids

Before you read the poem with your children, explain that this poem is about sadness, feeling alone, and sometimes wanting to Cry.

Talk about feeling this way… perhaps giving an example of feeling this way.  Read the poem with your children.

Talk about the feeling of the poem (sadness, loneliness).

Talk about the speaker, or voice, of the poem (I – could be anyone; man, woman, teenager, child).  Does the speaker feel sadness sometimes or all of the time (the word sometimes is used twice)?   When does the speaker Cry (sometimes when I’m alone).  Why does the poet capitalize the word Cry each time (to emphasize the feeling/emotion)?

The most important question:  WHY does the speaker Cry (he is on his own and doesn’t have a friend to confide in when he’s feeling alone, lonely, sad).

How to teach a poem to adults

Does the speaker feel that other people must feel the same way? (Yes, when he uses the word “one”; he is talking about anyONE and everyONE.) –

The world moves fast and it would rather pass by.
Then to stop and see what makes one cry,

Talk about the importance of having a parent, friend or adult to talk to, to confide in.  The power of this poem is telling of the importance of having someone to talk to.

And just as important, the message of the poem makes us think about BEING a friend; taking the time to LISTEN…

but who do you know that stops that long,
to help another carry on.

Talk to your children about how poet Shakur communicates his feelings in his words.  Talk about talking.  Talk about listening.  Talk about the power of words.  Remember that LITERACY is all about WORDS – Written, Spoken & Felt.

Everyone needs to know how to use words, both in literature and in life; and kids, especially, recall poems like this one when they need them most. How to teach a poem isn’t easy, but can be done. You will fall in love once you get into them!

If you enjoyed this poem, you may also enjoy:
Fog, by Carl Sandburg
from Five Haiku, by Paul Eluard
Love is, by Nikki Giovanni
Temple Bell, by Yosa Buson
The Snail, by Richard Wright
Evening, by Sappho
The Red Wheelbarrow, by William Carlos William
The White Horse, by D. H. Lawrenc
Dragonfly Catcher, by Chiyojo
The Giraffe, by Ron Padgett
German Shepherd, by Myra Cohn Livingston
Outwitted, by Edwin Markham
My Father, by Yehuda Amichai
Window, by Czeslaw Milosz

About Audrey

Audrey McClelland has been a digital influencer since 2005. She’s a mom of 5 and shares tips on her three favorite things: parenting, fashion and beauty. She’s also a Contemporary Romance Author.

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