Blue Shoes
copyright 2001 by Tim Griffin

I gave my new dog an old shoe to chew;
Now she prefers to chew shoes that are new.
She chose to chew those shoes that I liked the best:
The blue shoes I chose at the shoe show, no less!

So I bought some shoe glue to glue up my blue shoes
And gooed up the soles of the shoes that I chose,
But I knew the blue gooed shoes were now not so good shoes
So I chose some new shoes in place of those

And I told my dog, take an old shoe and chew it
But don’t chew the new or be sure that you’ll rue it!
These blue shoes are new shoes and not for your chewing
So don’t even think it, if that’s what you’re doing!
If you choose to chew shoes, eschew to chew mine;
Especially shoes of the new blue kind.


This is not a song, but a tongue-twister poem with a purpose.

During my eighteen years with LAUSD, most of my students spoke English as a second language. One of the challanges of teaching these kids to read and speak English is that there are some sounds they may hear differently than a native speaker. Every language works a little differently: Spanish, for example, makes no distinction between the /sh/ and /ch/ phonemes. To help my Spanish speakers practice these two sounds, I wrote this poem. Try reading it aloud as fast as you can, being especially careful with the /sh/ and /ch/ sounds!

So now you know there’s a method to my madness. At least sometimes.