Lesson 1: Analyzing Author’s Voice
Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes | NP
- Learning Goal
- Give examples of words and phrases that support the author’s voice in a poem.
- Approximately 50 minutes
- Necessary Materials
- Provided: N/A
Not Provided: Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad
will explain that when you read, you can “hear” an author’s voice. Voice is the author’s tone or attitude toward a subject in a text. By looking at the words an author has chosen and how they describe the setting, characters, or plot, you can identify the voice of the author. I will read the poem “Mother to Son” by Langston Hughes in Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes edited by David Roessel and Arnold Rampersad aloud. I will model identifying the author’s voice in the poem using the words in phrases in the poem. The poem is written by Langston Hughes but the poem is written from the point of view of a mother. The author uses words like “tacks,” “splinters,” “boards,” and “bare,” and phrases like “life ain’t been no crystal stair.” The mother’s attitude about life is that it is a struggle and that you must continue to keep going and push on. The mother’s voice speaks of hardship and perseverance.
Ask: How did I identify the author's voice in the poem? Students should respond that as you read the poem you paid close attention to words and phrases that told you how the author felt about the subject.
will read “Aunt Sue’s Stories” by Langston Hughes in Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes. We will identify the author’s voice in the poem using words and phrases from the poem. Words and phrases such as “heart full of stories,” “summer nights on the porch,” “cuddles a brown-faced child,” “singing sorrow songs,” “mingle themselves softly,” and “the dark-faced child is quiet” give the reader the feeling of comfort and love for a grandmother. The author’s voice is warm and quietly respectful.
will read “Youth” by Langston Hughes in Poetry for Young People: Langston Hughes. You will give examples of words and phrases that support the author’s voice of hope. This can be done by underlining words and phrases in the poem or by writing the examples on separate paper. Note: You will need to provide the poem “Youth” for students.
Build Student Vocabulary mingle
|Tier 2 Word: mingle|
|Contextualize the word as it is used in the story||"And black slaves / singing sorrow songs on the banks of a mighty river / mingle themselves softly / in the flow of old Aunt Sue’s voice, / mingle themselves softly / in the dark shadows that cross and recross / Aunt Sue’s stories."|
|Explain the meaning student-friendly definition)||To mingle means to mix, combine, or bring together. In the poem, slaves are mingling on the banks of a river in Aunt Sue’s stories.|
|Students repeat the word||Say the word mingle with me: mingle|
|Teacher gives examples of the word in other contexts||My cousin is too shy to mingle with people she doesn’t know. I try not to mingle work and play: I like to finish all my homework first, then watch the television.|
|Students provide examples||When have you mingled with people who are different from you. Tell me about it by saying “I mingled with …”|
|Students repeat the word again.||What word are we talking about? mingle|
|Additional Vocabulary Words||schemed, dewy|
Before reading the book, explain that you are going to be reading poems by Langston Hughes. Langston Hughes was a famous African American author and poet who lived during the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s. The Harlem Renaissance was a time of creativity and artistic expression in the African American community of Harlem (an area of New York City). "Renaissance" means "re-birth." African Americans living in Harlem, and in other cities across the nation, wrote and played music (mostly jazz), wrote and performed in the theater, and wrote poems, stories, and novels during this time period. Many of these works of creativity reflected the African American experience at the time and throughout history. Share some visual or audio examples of artistic works from the Harlem Renaissance.
Texts & Materials
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