What words can do

We use language every day! When you speak to your friends and family, send a text or write a poem, you are using words and language to tell people how you feel, to find out things about the world, and to be heard.

Let me tell you a secret. Words are like magic. They can make you laugh or cry. They can transport you to other worlds or tell you something new about this one. With words, you can go into the past or the future, to the bottom of the sea or inside someone’s mind.

What better way to start than with a poem called Magic!

Magic by Bo Burnham

Read this to yourself. Read it silently.
Don’t move your lips. Don’t make a sound.
Listen to yourself. Listen without hearing anything.
What a wonderfully weird thing, huh?

NOW MAKE THIS PART LOUD!
SCREAM IT IN YOUR MIND!
DROWN EVERYTHING OUT.

Now, hear a whisper. A tiny whisper.
Now, read this next line with your best crotchety-old-man voice:
“Hello there, sonny. Does your town have a post office?”

Awesome! Who was that? Whose voice was that?
It sure wasn’t yours!
How do you do that?
How?!
Must be magic.

Did you follow the instructions and read it in a whisper and in voices? Isn’t it amazing that just a few words and your imagination can do so much?

Exercise #1:

(Pssst! Want extra help or to hear the instructions? Click the audio to hear audio instructions for this exercise!)

  1. The first thing I’d like you to do is write your three favourite words down on a piece of paper. You might choose these words because of how they sound, because of a memory or a joke you share with your family, or because they’re from your favourite song.
  2. Next, write down two words or phrases you use when you want to say you really like something. Here’s one of mine: “That’s super awesome!” 
  3. Next, write down something you say all the time. Do you have a catchphrase? For me, I always say, “I feel you” when I’m saying I understand someone.

Keep these words close! You’ll use them later!