Does Everyone Love a Story?

For the second week of our residency—the first handing out, reading and responding to a poem—I brought in Philip Levine‘s “A Story.” First thing, I asked the students to number the lines; since it’s a long poem, this made it easier for us to find specific things more quickly during our discussion. We then talked about who (a family) as well as what was described as being in the house—tables, chairs, cupboards, drawers, tiny beds—wondering where it was located, as well as when the poem takes place? Certain details suggested it was sometime in the past, such as the “big iron [stove] / with a fat black pipe that vanishes into the ceiling,” and the “sink gone yellow / around the drain where the water, dirty or pure / ran off with no explanation.” I also asked why workmen were there, with students giving a number of plausible answers.

Once their papers were prepared, I asked the 4th graders to write “everyone loves a story” as the start of their poems. They were then encouraged to take it from there, focusing on a true or made-up story, or perhaps just playing around with the language of that statement. Here are some examples from among the many excellent responses—enjoy!

Mr. O’Brien, 4th Grade

Monica E.

Everyone loves a story…

Once upon a decade…
There was a family that you
don’t need to know about.
It’s none of your business.
Leave and read a book.
Here, you can borrow the story
of the family I was talking

Once upon 10,000 decades ago…

A family lived a normal life until
their cat died. So they turned their
house into a cat, their chairs and
other furniture into cats and their
silverware into CATS! Then the house
cat ate them, except for one! ME!
I am the dead cat that quote unquote
died. I just left the crazy family,
they could not
keep their paws off me!

Now leave, you shall know
nothing about the family…

Love M.

Everyone loves a story
about colors. Blue.
Blue is the color of
the American flag.
Blue tastes like cotton
candy. Blue feels like the clouds.
Blue is the color of a marker.
Blue could be slime.
Blue is beautiful.

Everyone loves a story
about colors. Pink.
Pink is the color of
slime. Pink pops in
your mouth.

Natalia R.

everyone loves a story

imagine a big house near a lake
the house has a table
with milk and cookies on the plate
little kids play all day
in the grass or in the hay
life near a lake can be fun…
nevermind that story

this story is done

Ashna S.

Everyone loves a story.
This one has everything you could ask for.
It has kitchen
with a mitten.
A bedroom
with a flying broom.
And last but not least our very favorite
a cookie with a
sugar sweet cherry on top.

Arjun S.

Everyone loves a story.
Let me tell you why. I will tell you one.

There once was a man with two sides.
There was a good side.
There was a bad side.
Hello! Hmph!
He entered a race.
He helped someone.
He was in second place!
Then he was first place then he
He realized to be good.
The bad side vanished.

Raagvi S.

Everyone loves a story.

I came to home and

I found a dragon.

Then he was our pet
and then he died.

James S.

everyone loves a story

one night a light shines bright
with a present just for me
i’m happy we celebrate Christmas

Mrs. Rupp, 4th Grade

The Fergusons
Sam A.

Everyone loves a story.
There is a house on a mountain. The house is
13 stories high and made of raspberry pie.
The Ferguson brothers lived there. They played the
fiddle. There was a rain 4 years after 1932. The rain
destroyed the house. The Ferguson brothers go their
separate ways (other sides of the mountain).
Their houses were 6 and a half floors each.
They lived happily ever after.
They played 946 concerts together.
473 concerts apart.

A Dream
Quinn D.

Everyone loves a story.
A dream.
A dream of your own.
A good dream.
You tell your dream as a story.
A good story.
A story of your own good dream.
Your dream of candy and butterflies.
Your dream of swans and a picnic.
Your good dream.
Your good story.
Everyone loves a story.

Katy H.

Everyone loves a story
there was a rabbit
who ate a carrot
then he went to a circus
he met a snake
who was a vegan snake
then a bear ate the snake,
and a clown saw it
and the little rabbit started crying
and then a flat purple cat walked in

Yin + Yang
Naima R.

Everyone loves a story……..
Especially opposite stories……..

Yin and Yang.
There and then, everywhere,
here and there.
Yin is glad and Yang is mad,
opposites go hand in hand

Yang is big, Yin is small
all together, all in all

Although they may be separate
their differences are very great

Yin and Yang, Yang and Yin, friends forever now and then.

Keenan V.

Everyone Loves A Story,

Everyone Loves Cherries
Everyone Loves Oranges
Everyone Loves Bananas
Everyone Loves Apples
Everyone Loves Blueberries
Everyone Loves Grapes

Everyone Loves Fire
Everyone Loves Water
Everyone Loves Nature
Everyone Loves Energy
Everyone Loves Light
Everyone Loves Dark
Everyone Loves Fairy
Everyone Loves Metal
Everyone Loves Normal

Everyone Loves Mom
Everyone Loves Dad
Everyone Loves Family

Everyone Loves Everyone.

Everyone Loves
Matthew W.

Everyone loves a story
Everyone loves a tree
Everyone loves
the things they want.

to do
they want like
making stories
telling stories
and having powers.
Everyone loves
have a
happy life.
This poem is
my dream is for
people to non-violence activities and just live.

Ms. Travis, 4th Grade

Avni B.

Everyone loves a story. Let’s begin with
a camel.
First, the camel said, Let’s
begin with a hippo.

Then, the hippo said (grouchily)
Let’s begin with a party!

After, more others join in.

Last, they all say


“Let’s finish off with a

Everyone Loves a Story
Nico F.

Everyone loves a story
everyone loves to have fun
everyone loves to do their
favorite thing… because
it makes them feel good…

Like getting a
tooth out but not
getting the root out
like pulling a tooth
right out the door or
pulling it down
to Baltimore then
you’re pedaling through
Duluth still pulling
on that stubborn

or hitching a ride
to Santa Fe or
hiring a guide to
San Jose

Ava J.

Everyone loves a story
Everyone loves a meal
Everyone loves a toy
Everyone loves a dollar
Everyone loves a pizza
Everyone loves ice cream
Everyone loves a poem
Everyone loves a banana
Everyone loves an apple
Everyone loves a book
Everyone loves a comic
Everyone loves a dog
Everyone loves a cat
Everyone loves glasses
Everyone loves pencils
Everyone loves a friend
Everyone loves a family

You Still Love Yourself

Story Bird!
Morgan M.

Everyone loves a story.
Stories can be happy
sad angry or mad.
I had a bird. Her name
was Rory. Rory loved
a story. She was a raven
and everyone knew she
was craven. She was craven
over chocolate stories. I
told her she could not eat.
But my raven was craven.
She likes school libraries.
Libraries with hot cocoa.
I said, Birdy you are going loco
(crazy in Spanish)

Max M.

Everyone loves a story. Let’s
go write a story! Maybe go to
the pool! Get a
floaty or swim by yourself!
Jump in the
water and also get wet!
Once you’re done
just get out of the

Rhiannon S.

Everyone loves a story
let’s start with a mermaid.
She has a blue and green ombre
tail with a beautiful scaled pattern.
She loves to play,
dance and sing.
She has a blue and green
ombre hairstyle. She is the
queen of the ocean and
has some friends.

She has a wonderful family,
she watches over everyone
and puts a different
special power on


Jamen W.

Everyone loves a story let’s go to
the park. We are at the park slipping down
the slides like slippery grease
and swing on the swings like we are
jumping off a cliff and running like
the Flash and playing football and baseball
and making a day and dad took us
home and we had a sleepover the end.

Mrs. Johnson, 4th Grade

Preston L.

Everyone loves a story
I love pancakes me and my dad make
pancakes when I get them I will
like syrup, butter, whip cream

A Story
Amari M.

Everyone loves a story.
Everyone loves a story about sports.
Everyone loves animals.
Everyone loves school.
Everyone loves video games.
Everyone loves poetry.
Everyone loves shoes.
Everyone loves to play.
Everyone loves winter.
Everyone loves summer.
Everyone loves Christmas.
Everyone loves Valentine’s Day.
Everyone loves the world.
Everyone loves an END.

Everyone Loves a Story
Emily S.

Everyone loves a story
a good story
an adventurous story
one where there are many ups and downs
with made up names
maybe it starts with
there was a goat named Tally
or a wizard named Carie
or a made up one according
to you
maybe you have to choose your own story theme
or a silly or joke maybe a confusing
I don’t care as long as it’s good
Harry Potter is my favorite book
in a quiet spot I will read
a story one about an animal

The Girl
Destiny S.

Everyone loves a story.

Once upon a
time a little girl had a
dream that she

would have the best life
be famous, great friends
be bold, sassy, fun, pretty
like has other plans she has ups
and downs like ? ? ?

Nicolas T.

Everyone loves a story.
Today I went to a park.
It was fun.
I played football.
My friend Evan came too.
My dad was a quarterback.
He throws far.
I saw a dog.
He was vicious.
He chased the ball.
The dog bit me too.
I caught the ball over Evan.
The game was a tie.
The park is full of mysteries.

Sadie W.

Everyone loves a story….

even if it’s not great. It can be
anything even all the states. You
can read anything but try not to
laugh. Then grab one more
book then put it away. After that
you should get yourself a treat.
Then get one more book then
look at the glory of the little
tiny story.

Mrs. Oluewu, 4th Grade

Ilani A.

Everyone loves a story.
Where shall we start?
We can make
a giant tale
about a city or an ark.
We can start
by being different
we can write
what we desire.
Whatever we do
we will make people

Kyle L.

everyone loves a story
let’s take this to a kingdom of dragons
they all have wings of fire
they all have tails of rock
they all have feet of water
they all have bodies of ice
but they don’t have the same heads
some heads are poison
some heads are paper
some heads are even air!
knights try to slay
but they all fail
knights try to tame
but they all get eaten
so now nobody comes
to this magical place

Cameron M.

Everyone loves a story.
The story must be interesting
like this.
The house
so haunted and

spider webs and werewolves.
The door
goes Aaaa auuuu
and there are webs every-
where. Next thing you
know you were on a
surprise movie shoot, it was a trillion dollars
and you are rich. Give me that cash.

Paige R.

Everyone loves a story. Let’s
start with a child. She loved
pink, was cute, and was a teensy bit
mild. She loved pigs, loved toys, and
Cinnamon Toast Crunch. She disliked
all violence even a simple punch.
She grew up in a small house
with loving parents after all.
She loved them dearly and the
house, she loved them all. She
had so many friends to play
with her to the end. Slowly
as she grew up and soon
she liked blue she loved too.

True Is False, False Is True
Bennett S.

Everyone loves a story.
But some people don’t.
Everyone loves food.
But some people hate it.
But some people don’t.

Someone likes
everything, but
no one does.


true is false

false is true

A Story
Clara S.

Everyone loves a story, a story of fun and fantasy.
A story that wraps you around
and takes you away.
A story that summons greatness,
but also great despair.
A story of good and evil.
A story of love and hate.
A story of magic.
A story of fair.
A story in such we believe.
A story that we cannot leave.

When Not to Read Stories
Thomas Y.

Everyone loves a story
stories make you smart
everyone should read stories
stories are fun!

Pretend you’re in the book
and start to dream
sleep until 10:00 p.m.
and then read read read.

At 1:00 a.m. go to sleep
then you will dream about the book!



“Writing poetry makes me feel like I can see myself, like I can see my reflection, but not in a mirror, in the world. I write and I know I can be reflected.”
-Oscar S.

“Writing poetry makes me feel free.”
-Buenda D.

“Writing poetry is like your best friend.”
-Jessica M.