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The Study of Poetry and Literature for Children & Young Adults

Poetry Break #2: A poem by Jack Prelutsky


Introduction: This was my daughter's all time favorite book when she was younger. She firmly believed in dragons, the Loch Ness Monster and that some dinosaurs were still alive hidden in jungles somewhere. AND she desperately wanted one (any one of the above) for a pet. Most children believe in dragons and really want one for their very own. This book is wonderful for first through fourth grade.

The Dragons Are Singing Tonight
By Jack Prelutsky
Tonight is the night all the dragons
Awake in their lairs underground,
To sing in cacophonous chorus
And fill the whole world with their sound.
They sing of the days of their glory,
They sing of their exploits of old,
Of maidens and knights, and of fiery fights,
And guarding vast caches of gold.
Some of their voices are treble,
And some of their voices are deep,
But all of their voices are thunderous,
And no one can get any sleep.
I lie in my bed and I listen,
Enchanted and filled with delight,
To songs I can hear only one night a year--
The dragons are singing tonight.
Poetry Extension: I just have to combine this with music class. The most fun I had as a substitute teacher was when I filled in for the music teacher. I am not remotely musically inclined, cannot play any instruments or carry a tune in a bucket! BUT, little kids never figured that out.
Read this poem to second graders. Then talk about what dragons would sound like when they sing... then pass out the musical instruments, cymbals, drums, triangle, put a kid at the piano and have a dragon concert. Keep it short (set a timer) and I have found it best to warn the principal beforehand (her office was below the music room). Kids still tell me that they enjoyed inventing their own music in class more than anything else.
Prelutsky, Jack. 1988. The Dragons are singing tonight. Ill. by Peter Sis. New York: Greenwillow. ISBN 0688125115


Click on the following link to proceed to the next poetry break

Module 2, Poetry Break #3