Wednesday, December 26, 2012


I'm always fussing at teachers about the benefits of read aloud. Read aloud acts as a commercial for books. Read aloud builds classroom community.  Read aloud puts the sound of standard English into kids' heads. And on and on and on. Yadda yadda yadda. The teachers in my building know that I love read aloud.

Some teachers/subjects, however, are a little harder sell than others. Take math, for instance. "I'm supposed to read aloud in math, Carol?" teachers say, wrinkling up their noses. "What exactly do you want me to read?"

Well, during the CYBILS judging, I found a perfect math read aloud. In EDGAR ALLAN POE'S PIE,  J. Patrick Lewis cleverly parodies fourteen classic poems, e.g. Edgar Allan Poe's "The Raven," Edward Lear's "There was an Old Man with a Beard," and Robert Frost's "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," not to mention other classical poets like Emily Dickinson, Walt Whitman,  A. A. Milne, Langston Hughes, and Lewis Carroll. Somehow, he manages to maintain the poet's form and rhythm, and squeeze a math problem, or two or three, into each poem.

"Edward Lear's Elephant With Hot Dog"
(inspired by "There Was an Old Man with a Beard")

When an elephant sat down to order
A half of a third of a quarter
Of an eighty-foot bun
And a frankfurter, on,
Was it longer than three feet, or shorter?

"William Carlos Williams's Pizza"

The fifteen-inch square pizza
with three-by-three inch slices
was so inviting

I couldn't resist
eating nineteen and a half of them

Forgive me, Flossie
you were hungry, too
i put the box back
in the refrigerator

beside the white chickens
how many pieces
of pizza were left?

The poems are a little tricky and lots of fun. Answers are upside down in the illustrations.  A two-page spread in the back gives a little information about the poets.

Absolutely perfect for a math lesson read aloud!


Linda B said...

I shared this with our math teachers & I think they're going to use some of the challenges for their students. It's such a fun book, I agree Carol.

Matt Forrest Esenwine said...

Looks like a lot of fun!