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Wishes, Lies, and Dreams: Teaching Children to Write Poetry Paperback – October 6, 1999

ISBN-13: 978-0060955090 ISBN-10: 0060955090 Edition: Reprint

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (October 6, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060955090
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060955090
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #79,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"I wish every grade school teacher would run out and read Kenneth Koch's Wishes, Lies, and Dreams. If many of them took Koch's advice seriously we would have at the very least a poetry revolution, not to mention the possibility that a lot of kids would start having a good time in school." -- Allen Wiggins, Cleveland Plain Dealer

"Perhaps the best book I have read portraying the joy and excitement young people experience when writing in a happy place where people care about their works...The ideas Koch uses are good. I've tried them with my writing classes, and they work." -- Herbert Kohl, Saturday Review

"There are enough ideas in the book, all laid out in good detail by Koch, and with great respect for his fellow artists, the students, to give other teachers a workable plan for teaching poetry...Koch has helped people discover joy in words, and that is what the love of poetry is all about." -- Virginia Quarterly Review

About the Author

Kenneth Koch is a celebrated poet and the author of numerous books of poetry, literary criticism, short fiction, and plays. He has won many literary awards, including the Bollingen Prize for Poetry in 1995. A professor of English at Columbia University, Koch lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Bradley R. Cook on September 5, 2003
Format: Paperback
I was first introduced to this marvelous book as a sophomore in an advanced placement English and History class in high school. An older graduate of the program had gone on to study poetry under Kenneth Koch at Columbia University, and returned to share what he had learned.
Now, with Bachelor's Degrees in both English and Elementary Education and a Master's in Language, Linguistics and Culture, I still consider WISHES, LIES, AND DREAMS to be the single best book on teaching writing that I have ever read.
Koch does not waste time with "assessment" of students' skills, collecting data, or any of the other peripheral matters that clutter most writing "methods" texts. This book is about WRITING, about inspiring students to write, about focusing the talents students already have but might not know that they possess.
I first used this book as a teacher when I was student teaching with a class of recalcitrant fifth graders who had been taught strictly by the text throughout their elementary school years. They almost unanimously declared that they hated writing. Employing Koch's ideas and combining them with the District-required skills lessons, I successfully taught these students what they needed to know - and they loved it!
After I began teaching in my own classroom, I used WLD with my students in bilingual third grade classes. Again, we were successful, even with second-language learners. Years later, when I began teaching second grade, and last year, when I worked with first graders, this book was an essential part of our writing program.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Amy H. Sacha on April 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one book I can't do without. I was introduced to Kenneth Koch's work when I was at the University of Wisconsin-Madison taking a workshop from an author who had taught with Koch. It has been my "writing Bible" ever since. I have used almost every exercise at one time or another with elementary school children, with fantastic results. Along with Koch's "Rose, Where Did You Get That Red?", this is a classic.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By William Timothy Lukeman TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 30, 2007
Format: Paperback
Some 35+ years after its initial publication, this remains one of the finest books about writing poetry -- and not just for children, either! Kenneth Koch walks a delicate & difficult line here, trusting in the experiences & imaginations of children, yet also emphasizing (in an unforced but gently firm manner) the need for work & craft. Most of all, it demystifies poetry without stripping it of its wonder & magic, making it accessible to all who are willing to meet it halfway. There's never a note of condescension here, just a genuine love of poetry & the expectation that any aspiring poet will give his or her all in creating poems. Most highly recommended!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By airie on January 2, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Bought this for my 5 year old grandson, who's a natural poet. And bought a 2nd to use for myself. It's a great way to get kids talking and thinking imaginatively in the car, or wherever they are. Highly recommend.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By VoodooDali on August 29, 2008
Format: Paperback
I've used this over the years with all kinds of populations. I wish that he would revise it with more practical advice in the instruction part - particularly in how to present the exercises to different age groups.
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