I wrote this 298-word poem for my summer ESL class on phonics and accent reduction. It includes about a dozen pairs of vocab words highlighting syllable stress of two-syllable verbs versus nouns, as well as compound nouns. It corresponds with Units 3–5 (particularly Unit 5) of Judy Gilbert’s Clear Speech, 4th Edition. Enjoy, and feel free to share and reuse with attribution.
Bookstore Present/Baseball Tryout
I present to you this present:
It’s an object from a bookstore.
Don’t object! And don’t reject it!
Before you do, why don’t you look more?
You should check out this cool bookmark
And the notebook that I bought you.
Oh, while I was at the checkout,
There’s a keychain that I got, too.
Even though I know books are a turnoff for you,
I’d like you to try out the book that I bought.
A notebook is special: it’s a record for you
To record, every day, all the thoughts that you thought.
So turn off your tablet and pack up your keyboard;
Let’s set up this notebook together.
The setup is easy; so soon, we’ll progress
To record all your progress forever.
Oh! I also got tickets for the baseball team’s tryout;
Let’s go eat a hot dog while watching them play.
Oh my gosh! Did you notice the man in the raincoat?
I remember his face from the news yesterday!
I suspect he’s the suspect from yesterday’s holdup,
So look out for him if you can.
The police have a lookout! Look close, can you see her?
She’s trying to start up that unmarked, white van!
It’s a transport they brought for transporting the convict.
(I mean that I’m sure they’ll convict him
When they see him in court, and they hold up the picture,
The one that was drawn by the victim.
But what if his story conflicts with the one
That the witnesses told their attorneys?
With that kind of conflict, the judge could reject it,
And rejects make excellent turnkeys.
Whatever that means!) So please, hold up your camera;
We’ll capture a picture and email the cop.
Oh, what an exciting event this has been
For you to record in the notebook I bought!