Using a Mentor Text to Write a Poem

I wrote this poem using the scaffold I found in Forest Has a Song by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater.  The poem in Amy’s book of poetry is called “Song.”   Your students can brainstorm a list of familiar places that may have a song.   Second graders at Salford Hills in Souderton came up with this list when I had visited to do some poetry workshops in grades 1 – 5 during April Poetry Month. Some of their places with a song were: the cafeteria, their classroom, the playground, the zoo, their backyard, McDonald’s, the park, the bus stop, the school bus, grandma’s kitchen, the seashore, the mall, their car when everyone was packed in and traveling on a long trip

All the students kept a “poem in their pocket” – one they had copied from a book of poetry or one they had written in their writer’s notebook.  Teachers, the principal, reading specialists, and visitors could stop a student in the hall, on the playground, or in the cafeteria and ask him/her to share the selected poem. What a way to sustain a community of readers and writers!


Baseball Song

           By Lynne Dorfman


In the wooden bleachers

I hear

shouts and cheers

long and loud.


Players chew and spit.

Cameras click, click, click.

Bats whoosh through warm air.

Balls plop into leather mitts.

Vendors yell, “Get cold pop here!”                                  

Spiked shoes squish on spring grass.

Racing home, a player’s heart beats…

Ba-boom, ba-boom, ba-boom.

The umpire drawls, “Safe!”


Silence at a ball field

never lasts too long.

The ball field has a song.


***Look for a Your Turn lesson using Amy’s poem as a mentor text in our second edition of Mentor Texts: teaching Writing Through Children’s Literature, K-6 published by Stenhouse – and coming some time in 2017!


2 thoughts on “Using a Mentor Text to Write a Poem

  1. Lynne! I am feeling wistful for baseball season, for all of the years that Henry played. I do love this game, and you capture it in song – even the hidden heart beat. Thank you for the honor of pairing your poem with mine and for sharing this in your forthcoming new edition too! Happy continued National Poetry Month! xo


  2. Lynne, I think I was at the same game as you. At least I feel like I was because your poem is brilliantly written. My favorite line: players chew and spit, cameras click, click, click. I love the the rhyming and onomatopoeia. Thanks to you I am a huge fan of mentor texts. I could not write without the inspiration of you and others.


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