Writing for Kids (While Raising Them)

LizPortait2013_0001-(ZF-0850-58463-1-006)by Liz Garton Scanlon

Recently, while discussing poetry with a bunch of 5th graders, I discovered a word that’s pretty much left our daily vernacular: loafe.

Whitman used it in SONG OF MYSELF…

I loafe and invite my soul
I lean and loafe at my ease observing a spear of summer grass

…but not a single student knew what the word meant. There were jokes about loaves of bread, and one girl thought she had it, but it turns out she’d gotten it mixed up with loathe. Which, you’ll agree, is another thing entirely.

Image via http://becuo.com Image via becuo.com

Once I defined the word for them, they loved it. I said, “Pretty great, right? To be given permission–even encouragement–to loafe about?!” and everybody laughed with relief. (Except for one boy who said, “I try to loafe about a LOT, but my mom won’t let me.” 🙂 )

So I stepped…

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