Introduction This chapter presents poems, stories, and sayings, as well as brief discussions of language and literature. The best way to introduce children to poetry is to read it to them and encourage them to speak it aloud so they can experience the music of the words. A child's knowledge of poetry should come first from pleasure and only later from analysis. However, by fifth grade, children are ready to begin learning a few basic terms and concepts, such as metaphor and simile. Such concepts can help children talk about particular effects that enliven the poems they like best. The stories in this book are excerpts, abridgments, and adaptations of longer works. If a child enjoys a story, he or she should be encouraged to read the larger work. Don Quixote and stories about Sherlock Holmes are available in child-friendly versions as part of the Foundation's Core Classics series. You can draw children into stories by asking questions about them. For example, you might ask, "What do you think is going to happen next?" or "What might have happened if . . . ?" You might also ask the child to retell them. Don't be bothered if the child changes events: that is in the best tradition of storytelling and explains why we have so many different versions of traditional stories! The treatments of grammar and writing in this book are brief overviews. Experts say that our children already know more about grammar than we can ever teach them. But standard written language does have special characteristics that children need to learn. In the classroom, grammar instruction is an essential part, but only a part, of an effective language arts program. Fifth graders should also have frequent opportunities to write and revise their writing with encouragement and guidance along the way. For some children, the section on sayings and phrases may not be needed; they will have picked up these sayings by hearing them in everyday speech. But this section will be very useful for children from homes where American English is not spoken. For additional resources to use in conjunction with this section, visit the Foundation's Web site: www.coreknowledge.org. POETRY A Wise Old Owl by Edward Hersey Richards A wise old owl sat on an oak, The more he saw the less he spoke; The less he spoke the more he heard; Why aren't we like that wise old bird? The Eagle by Alfred, Lord Tennyson He clasps the crag with crooked hands; Close to the sun in lonely lands, Ring'd with the azure world, he stands. The wrinkled sea beneath him crawls; He watches from his mountain walls, And like a thunderbolt he falls. From Opposites by Richard Wilbur What is the opposite ofriot? It'slots of people keeping quiet. . . . What is the opposite oftwo? A lonely me, a lonely you. . . . The opposite ofdoughnut? Wait A minute while I meditate. This isn't easy. Ah, I've found it! A cookie with a hole around it. . . . The opposite of acloudcould be Awhite reflection in the sea, Ora huge blueness in the air, Caused by a cloud's not being there. . . . The opposite ofopposite? That's much too difficult. I quit. The Road Not Taken by Rober t Frost Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both And be one traveler, long I stood And looked down one as far as I could To where it bent in the undergrowth; Then took the other, as just as fair, And having perhaps thHirsch, E. D., Jr. is the author of 'What Your Fifth Grader Needs to Know Fundamentals of a Good Fifth-Grade Education', published 2006 under ISBN 9780385337311 and ISBN 0385337310.