Before he started private lessons with me, Ethan, a fourth-grade student, hadn't written or studied poetry. So I introduced him to Sharon Creech's brilliant, middle-grade novel-in-verse Love That Dog. In that book, the narrator, like my student, is a boy who initially looks at poetry as merely a language arts class unit that is somehow related to his literary education. Through emulating the poems presented by his teacher, the fictional boy, Jack, soon finds his own style and voice, and discovers some important personal truths that he can now express poetically. Ethan enjoyed Creech's book a lot, and when I assigned him a prompt from my book Writing Success Through Poetry, he emulated Jack by emulating me. Adapting my poem's structure and style to express his own feelings about the intangible value of a personal treasure, he created "My Soccer Ball." His poem appears just below the prompt, my poem "Nana's Ring."
The very fact that Ethan willingly typed this poem and proudly offered it to me to post here--not to mention that he clearly understands the difference between tangible and intangible value--is proof enough of the benefit of encouraging emulation by young writers. Please feel free to leave comments for Ethan below.