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ARCHIVED - Canada: A Literary Tour

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Educational Resources

Activity 2

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Reading Aloud for Power-Words


Many works of poetry are meant to be read aloud to appreciate their full effect. In this activity, students will come together in an exercise to share words or phrases that they find powerful. The ensuing discussion could include why some words are more powerful than others or the importance of the audience or reader's cultural perspective in lending power to a word. The teacher may select a poem or passage of prose that relates to the topic of landscape, or another subject. For ideas and texts, see the virtual exhibition Canada: A Literary Tour or the Activity Resources section.


  • A copy of a poem or passage of prose
  • A pen or pencil

Performance and Assessment

The teacher may create an assessment tool or rubric to measure the following:

  • During class discussion, did students understand the relationship between particular words and their own personal landscapes?
  • Note the students' reaction to the text-are they willing to allow words or phrases to resonate or connect with them? Are they open to experiencing the text rather than just reading it?
  • Note the quality of students' responses-do they simply point out the examples from the text or do they take it one step further and connect it to personal experiences or other examples?
  • Did each student follow the patterns of their classmates and recognize obvious examples of reference to sensory material? Did he or she go one step beyond and find or create unusual associations to sensory material?


  1. Each student will read the text silently, underlining individual words or phrases that resonate with him or her throughout the text.
  2. When students are done underlining their passage, the teacher will begin reading the text aloud. Students should follow along on their copy of the work. As the teacher is about to read a word or phrase that a student has underlined on his or her copy, he or she should say that word aloud at the same time as the teacher. Reading the text in this fashion will often result in loud bursts of sound at particular junctures.
  3. Following the reading exercise, the class will use the following questions to discuss the power of different words and phrases:
    • Why did a particular word or phrase resonate with most of the class?
    • What does it mean to the poem or passage?
    • What does it mean to us as listeners and readers?
    • What might it mean to someone else who reads the poem or passage?
    • How do our personal landscapes influence the power of words?

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