Want your students to write using more interesting language? Want to break up the mundane, overused patterns? Try creating a lipogram!
A lipogram is a piece of writing that purposefully leaves out a particular letter or letters. And while writing one from scratch is certainly one option, I’ve had the most success when asking students to rewrite without a letter.
Even something as simple as Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star takes on some juicy complexity if you have to remove ‘E’ or ‘A’ (or ‘E’ AND ‘A’), while retaining the rhyme and line length and rhythm.
Twinkle, twinkle, little star,
How I wonder what you are!
Up above the world so high,
Like a diamond in the sky.
Here’s my lipogram example that doesn’t use ‘E’ or ‘A’.
Orbit, orbit, tiny moon.
How I wish you’d visit soon.
‘Round my world you did go.
Tonight? Tonight? I do not know.
And here’s an incredible lipogram example. It’s “Mary Had A Little Lamb” written by A. Ross Eckler without using B, F, G, J, K, O, Q, U, V, W, X, Y, or Z.
Maria had a little sheep,
As pale as rime its hair,
And all the places Maria came
The sheep did tail her there;
In Maria’s class it came at last
(A sheep can’t enter there).
It made the children clap their hands;
A sheep in class, that’s rare!
Lipograms, I think, are a perfect example of an interesting, not merely challenging, task for students. Your advanced students have tons of room to play, explore, and dig deeper.