Friday, December 23, 2016

Youth Poetry and Sharon Creech's "Love That Dog"

This previous week at ALEC, our kids took a journey in reading and writing prose. We explored structure, emotion, and historical context of Sharon Creech's "Love That Dog", a wonderful coming of age novel written entirely in free-prose from the perspective of our protagonist, Jack. In this book, Jack is challenged by his teacher (see the parallels?) to write poetry, much to his disdain. As the book goes on, though, we see Jack rising to meet this challenge and falling in love with a timeless art form, all while processing the love and loss of his dog, Sky.

This book is a great educational tool in dissecting the nitty-gritty of poetry, which can be a difficult subject to teach to kids. Poetry is not everyone's favorite, but it is relatable and can be a great platform for a variety of personalities to express themselves. Within "Love That Dog", famous poets from throughout history are alluded to, such as Langston Hughes, William Blake, and Robert Frost. Creech's work helped tie together a lot of different components in an introductory course on poetry for our young students.

After we discussed selected poems from the readings, and talked about our main character Jack studying historical poetic figures, we were ready for the next step. We passed out yellow packets, to match the yellow jacket of the book we were reading, with a page inside for students to write in. Students were to pick a poem to model their prose after, stylistically. The structure given, their content was all their own- and the results were fantastic. We even had a few brave souls volunteer to read their finished poems to the class, surprisingly- one of my most resistant students was the first to do so.

Our kiddos immerse themselves in the creative writing process 

We hope that this lesson will foster a long relationship with the wonderful art of poetry, which  plays an important role in our culture.

Please learn more about Sharon Creech and her work at:

I'll leave you with this quote, blog followers:

"Poetry is truth in it's Sunday clothes" - Joseph Roux

Until next time,



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