Poetry Challenge Week Four: Blackout Poems

 It’s week FOUR of the Weekly Poetry Challenge, and this week is all about blackout poems! A blackout poem is created by taking a block of text—like from a newspaper, magazine, or book—and “blacking out” everything except the words you want. Here’s a blackout poem I wrote: Created using the book MAKE BLACKOUT POETRY by John Carroll Read some black out poems! Here are some blackout poems by author Austin Kleon . Examples of student-created blackout poems . Check out this Pinterest board for more examples. Write a black out poem! When creating your blackout poem, you may to start with a pencil and circle or block around the words you want to keep for your poem. Then, once you’re happy with your poem use a sharpie to black out everything you don’t want. Blackout poetry is a great visual, but you can also type out your poem when you’re done to make it easier to read. Need a little help? Here’s a video by Austin Kleon on how he makes blackout poetry. If you or your kids write blackout poem

Story Time Tea inspired by LET'S DO EVERYTHING AND NOTHING by Julia Kuo

by Rebecca J. Gomez

This week's Summer Challenge theme is Time to Chill, which we hope will encourage you to take time to read and relax with your children. Relaxing can mean spending time doing as little as possible, but there are also some ways you can relax and be at peace even while doing an intentional activity. Today's featured book is one that captures that intention beautifully.


In this book a mother and child spend time intentionally enjoying being together. In some instances, that togetherness is spent adventuring, but more often it's spent doing quiet, ordinary activities or even almost nothing at all! The book has spare text and a quiet, peaceful tone that would be good for a relaxing afternoon or bed time. The colorful illustrations are reminiscent of a sunset, evoking a sense of beauty and peace. It's a lovely book to share with a loved one with whom you enjoy doing "everything and nothing."


  • What did you think of this quiet story? Did it keep your interest?
  • Who is someone you enjoy doing "everything and nothing" with?
  • The characters in the book do a lot of different things together. Which of those would you like to try with someone?
  • Which activity in the book is the most exciting? The most relaxing?

Do: Enjoy a story and tea time inspired by one of the book's illustrations. Gather a few quiet books to share while you enjoy your tea. Some ideas for the perfect relaxing tea party:

  • Make a pot of your favorite tea to enjoy hot or iced.
  • Set a table! Use a table cloth (a sheet or blanket could be used in a pinch) and your favorite cups and plates. Matching dishes can be fancy, but an eclectic mix can be fun too. Just use what you have on hand. Alternatively, you can set up your tea party on a picnic blanket in the yard.
  • Set out some tea time treats. If you'd like to plan ahead for a fancy tea time, try some cucumber sandwiches (recipe below). Other great tea time treats are crackers and cheese, cookies (especially short bread), muffins, nuts, sliced fruit, and popcorn.
  • Read and discuss a book or two while enjoying your tea party.

How to make cucumber sandwiches:

You will need:
  • 8 slices soft white sandwich bread
  • Butter (softened)
  • Cream cheese or cream cheese spread (room temperature)
  • Cucumber (seedless are best)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Dried dill (optional)
  • Sharp knife
  • Paper towels
  • Tray for displaying the sandwiches (traditionally this is a silver food tray)
Put them together:

Slice the cucumbers thinly and set the slices on a paper towel to absorb excess moisture. You will need about 36 thin slices. 

Take two slices of white bread. On one slice, spread an even layer of butter. On the other, spread an even layer of cream cheese. Arrange 9 cucumber slices on one slice of bread. Season to taste with salt, pepper and dill. Place the two slices of bread together to form a sandwich. 

Next, carefully cut the crusts off, then cut the sandwich corner to corner to make four triangles. Place the triangles standing up on a serving tray. Repeat with the rest of the ingredients. Makes 16 small, triangle sandwiches. 

Note: If you are not going to eat the sandwiches right away, put them in a plastic container, place a damp paper towel over them, and cover them tightly with a lid and store in the refrigerator. They can be made up to one day in advance. 

If you enjoy a story time tea or some other relaxing story time, let us know in the comments! You can also share on social media with the hashtag #RDDSummerChallenge.