Reading Road Trip: Construction Zone

Welcome to stop two on the Reading Road Trip! If you’re just joining us, be sure to download the roadmap so you can follow along. Also, sign up here for a chance to win a prize pack at the end of the summer! The reading road trip continues this week with a drive through a construction zone! Unlike construction zones in real life, which can slow us down or bring us to a full stop and add a lot of frustration to a journey, this construction zone is all about bringing a little construction-themed fun to the summer! So we hope you take some time this week to spend a little “building” time with your kids, reading books with a construction theme—whether that be books about building with blocks or bricks, toys or giant cranes. Continue reading for story time ideas and a construction themed reading list. Read : Books that fit the theme of “construction zone,” however you want to interpret it! FEATURED BOOK: Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus Billions of Bricks by Kurt Cyrus is a book about b

Parent and Child Poetry Challenge: Shape Poems

by Rebecca J. Gomez

The Poetry Challenge continues this week with shape poems, also called concrete poems. A shape poem, like a diamante poem, has a visual element that sets it apart from other forms of poetry. It is easily recognizable by its shape! A diamante is in the shape of a diamond. A shape poem is formatted in the shape of its subject, or in some cases, a shape that represents its subject.

A book of concrete poetry that you may want to look for is WET CEMENT: A MIX OF CONCRETE POEMS by Bob Raczka. You can also see this post about concrete poetry from last year's Poetry Month celebration.

The only real "rule" about writing a shape poem is that the poem takes the shape of what you're writing about. Some shape poems are basically lists of words that describe the subject, often using repetition, like in The Apple by S. C. Riggs. Shape poems are usually full of descriptive language and imagery, and they can also rhyme (but they often don't)!

Here's an example of a rhyming concrete poem by Rebecca J. Gomez:

To write your own shape poem, try these steps:

  1. Choose your subject. Start with something simple that has an easily recognizable shape. Maybe a type of animal, a cloud, or a flower. 
  2. Draw a basic outline of your shape. 
  3. On a separate paper, brainstorm words and phrases that you might use to describe your subject.
  4. Write a rough draft of your poem.
  5. Once you're pleased with the words of your poem, write it out inside the shape you drew earlier, so that the words take the shape of your drawing. Another option is to use the words as the outline of your drawing (using tracing paper can be helpful for this).
Here's an example of a poem in which the words form the outline of the shape, by my daughter Julia:

It may take a few tries to get your poem to "shape up" nicely. But keep at it, and remember to have fun! Remember to share your poems on social media using the hashtag #RDDPoetryChallenge or email them to us at