For some reason many students come into my class thinking more writing is better writing. They will be proud of all the words they have written on a page. They love to count their words. Many young writers think a poem is well-written if it is long (and of course, rhymes).
After students have had time to work on the fluency of writing and have a folder full of pieces written during writing workshop, I begin lessons on word choice. With word choice I rely on poetry as one effective writing model. If a theme or image can be conveyed effectively in few words to a reader, a poet has done their job. When teaching word choice I alway return to William Carlos Williams. This poem carries a punch with few words.
|The Red Wheelbarrow|
|by William Carlos Williams|
so much depends
After reading poems like this I then allow students to reexaine their word choice. What words are the most
important to the reader. Which words carry a punch? Which words can be replaced with another stronger words?
This poem is an example of how word choice, sound, and arrangment of lines can help convey a strong image.