The Wronger

The aim of this lesson is for the children to practise their thinking using the topic of grammar/literacy. It is also an explanation of the anxiety or inferiority that we all feel in a classroom situation when things are not going well for us. Most children can’t actually identify the area being made throughout the poem: the author uses words of one part of speech (eg adjectives, like ‘right’) as if they were another part of speech (eg verbs ‘I try to right’). And at the beginning they will focus on what’s wrong about it. Gradually, they will start to see what actually works – the feelings of the person speaking in the poem are very clear, even though all the sentences contain errors.

The Wronger

I’m a wronger
I try to right
But I get everything all mixy
I haven’t got the slightest might
Of successing
With I’s guessing.

Today anothers were all writing,
Sentencing neatly in straight lines.
But my words did wanders and wonkies
People else’s were bettering mines.

I wish I had a bit of clever
To help me when I’m classing.
I could confidence and brave exams
And get well done for my passing.
But it’s not my happen ever.

I’ve tried to learn what the teacher is taughting,
But there’s something wrong with my way of thoughting.



  1. Read the poem to the class.
  2. Give them some silent thinking-time to take it in.
  3. Read it again but this time ask them if there are any words or phrases that they don’t understand. This is a perplexing question with this particular poem.
  4. When you finish the second reading project the poem on the board for the children to examine. (With the poem on the board, the children can come up and point to the lines or words they are talking about). Ask them to think of questions about the poem, and talk about it in pairs. After a few minutes collect and list the questions. Ask if anyone can think of possible answers to any of the questions.
  5. As the answers to the questions come, listen until they finish, then prompt children to link their ideas to other people’s by saying ‘Who else said something like that?’, ‘Is there anyone you agree/disagree with?’. If they do this themselves, praise it, and say that it is one of the skills you are looking for.


Task Question 1: 

  • Ask if the poem would be better if you corrected it? How would it be better? If not, why wouldn’t it be better?

Task Question 2: 

  • How does the person speaking in this poem feel? Why?

Task Question 3: 

  • Is there something wrong with this person’s ‘way of thoughting’?


Extension Activity

Find a short written text. How would the wronger in the poem have written this text? Write it as they would right it?

Why can’t you say ‘I wish I had a bit of clever’ but you can say ‘I wish I had a bit of intelligence’?

Download The Wronger