Learning language through literature
Language arts – here we come!
Welcome teachers, pupils, and parents to this page of literature-inspired enrichment activities brought to you by The Star’s Newspaper-in-Education (Star-NiE) programme!
In the coming months, Star-NiE will feature poems and stories taken from the English language textbooks of Years 4,5 and 6.
Making a connection with literature through poetry and stories does more than just develop reading skills. It develops positive life-long reading habits and attitudes, and an interest in literature.
Making an early connection with literature develops and enriches your language in a holistic manner. It helps you process and express your thoughts and feelings in context – a necessary real-life skill, and since as children you love to imagine, literature based activities will nourish your imagination! We begin by connecting with poetry before we move on to stories.
So, stay on the page and enjoy learning how to communicate through activities that focus on six language arts skills: listening, talking, reading, writing, viewing, and visually representing.
The poem: Holiday Memories
When I was on holiday
I went to Timbuktu,
I wrestled with a jaguar
And boxed a kangaroo.
I journeyed into jungles,
I swam the deepest sea,
I climbed the highest mountain
And a monkey-puzzle tree.
I chatted to a seagull,
I met a big baboon,
I floated on a moonbeam
Until I reached the moon.
I visited the planets,
I lit up all the stars,
I gossiped to a parrot
Travelling to Mars.
I sailed across the ocean,
I drove a Greyhound bus,
I rode across the desert
On a hippopotamus.
I heard a mermaid singing,
I fought a killer shark,
I grappled with a Grizzly
In a wild Safari Park.
I chased a band of pirates
Completely round the bend.
And now the summer’s over
And so is this. — THE END.
by June Crebbin
About this poem
Holiday Memories is a highly imaginative poem. It describes exciting, imaginary adventures.
We all have memories of our holidays. We also have a fantastic imagination. We love to imagine places we might like to visit and the thrilling things we might do in these places!
Before you read the poem, think back on some holidays you had. Look at some photographs or any notes you may have made during your holiday trip. Are you ready to go on an adventure?
1. Take turns to read aloud the poem in parts. Add drama to your voice to match the adventure! Record your reading. Share with friends. Whose recording did you enjoy most? Why?
2. As you read the poem, list all the imaginary holiday adventures the poet mentions.
3. It is your turn to get imaginative and adventurous. You love to imagine! You love to wonder and to fantasise! During the pandemic you cannot physically travel to actual places, but in your mind you can travel to real or imaginary places! Using the poem as a guide write two stanzas of four lines each about this imagined adventurous journey. Here are some prompts to help you:
- Where would you go?
- What would you see there?
- What would you do there?
- How would you feel?
i. Learning word meanings
Timbuktu is a real place. Homework: Find out where it is and what it is famous for.
Now, Timbuktu is also a word that means a really faraway place that is difficult to travel to. This gives it a second metaphoric meaning: anywhere far away or middle of nowhere, and mysterious.
How to use it? For example, if someone asks you “Where is Teena?” You don’t know, or you don’t care, or you don’t want anyone to know, you can reply: “In Timbuktu, for all I care!” It may sound rude, but it is correctly used!
Metaphors and similes are often used in poems to show relationships, feelings, to help you create pictures in your mind – to make the poem more interesting.
1. A metaphor is used when we say something is something else. For example: “You’re a baboon.” How would you feel if someone said that to you?
2. A simile is used when we say something is like something else. Simile uses “like” or “as”. For example: “Don’t listen to him. He is as cunning as a fox” or “My computer is like a dinosaur. I need to get a new one.” Tell your friend what you understand by these two sentences.
3. Complete the following sentences that use animals as metaphors and similes. The names of the animals can be found in the poem
· Have you seen Sarah jump? She is a _!
· Rama ran like a _ in the 100 metre race.· You need a lot of practice and confidence before you can swim like a _.ii. Creating words
Imagine this: You are riding on the back of this animal – HIPPOPOTAMUS – and each time you give it a little slap on the back – out comes a word from its wide open mouth! Keep slapping to collect the words the beast keeps spitting. How many can you get? Try to get more words than your friends!NiE Activity
I found this heading in The Star newspaper recently: POWER OF IMAGINATION. Yes, you know your imagination has great power!
1. Look at this creative comic strip from The Star newspaper. The cartoonists used their power of imagination to create this strange looking creature in a ‘killer’ position. (Please don’t try it!)
It is your turn to exercise your power of imagination. Look through The Star newspaper and select bits from pictures or just some bold letters of the alphabet. Cut and paste them to create:
i. a unique beast or
ii. an alphabet monster.
Give your imaginative creature an interesting name. Next, write at least four lines in verse form about this creature. (Your verse need not rhyme.) These prompts may help you to write your verse:
- name of an imaginative place where you saw this creature.
- what did the two of you do?
2. I am sure you enjoy reading the comics page in The Star. Little Calvin is a highly imaginative boy. He often gets lost in a world of his own making and tries to make others believe in it.
3. Based on the comic above, complete this verse with end-words that rhyme with the word in bold in line one.
Calvin will break any ruleHe is lazy to go to _
He tries to act _
He thinks his mum he can
4. Read this wise saying. Does Calvin think this is true? Get into Calvin’s mind. Write what Calvin thinks. You can also doodle like in the picture Doodlism here. Share your creative scribble with your friends.
Here is another imaginative trick Calvin tries to play on his mum. Can you guess why?
5. It is your turn now, Write Calvin’s little imaginative story in the form of a verse of about four (or more) lines. Syabas! You have created another little poem. Next, read aloud the poem, first to yourself then share it with others.
Lucille Dass is a Star-NiE freelance consultant trainer. The Star-NiE programme is endorsed by the Education Ministry. For more information, call The Star’s Customer Care Unit at 1-300- 88-7827 from Monday to Friday (9am-5pm).