English as a Second Language/English poem


Hi Amanda,

I'm so glad you are back!

My son is participating in a contest for Solo verse speaking next month. The poem is as follows:-

There are Big Waves - Eleanor Farjeon

There are big waves and little waves,
Green waves and blue.
Waves you can jump over,
Waves you dive through,
Waves that rise up
Like a great water wall,
Waves that swell softly
And don't break at all,
Waves that can whisper,
Waves that can roar,
And tiny waves that run at you
Running on the shore.

I find the following sentence is difficult to explain to a child.

Waves that swell softly
And don't break at all,

I should be grateful if you could make it simple. Thanks in advance.


Hi CH,

It may be most be helpful if you can draw a picture of a wave breaking, and contrast it with a picture of a wave that does not grow high enough to break.

You can also show him in the bathtub.  If he sits down gently in the bathwater, ripples (small waves) of water travel away from him.  This is an example of a wave "swelling" (forming a dome-shape above the normal water level) but being short enough that it calmly flattens out.

Hope this helps :)


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I can answer any question about the English language or US culture for non-native English speakers. I will not answer homework questions.


Native English speaker, experience teaching English to ELLs.

Bachelor's Degree, Seattle University

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