"Words taught me words."
That was the first line of a poem written by one of my fourth graders today, a Chinese girl of immigrant parents. She may have been born in Hong Kong herself, I don't know. She is an amazing writer, and she said she wants to be "a writer and a fashion designer and a landlady" when she grows up.
I had brought in a poem about a boy learning to ride a bike which I think I found on the Writer's Almanac. Metaphor, simile, and they could all relate to the imagery too, of the father teaching the child to ride a bike, although some of them said their mothers taught them, or a brother or sister or uncle. All but her. Maybe nobody taught her to ride a bike. Maybe she still doesn't know.
I had them brainstorm all the things someone had taught them how to do: swim, cook, sew, ski, boogie board, read, write, play sports, even walk.
This girl loves literature, but it's very possible that her parents don't speak much English. So she started her poem, "Words taught me words." It's about how the books themselves taught her literature. I thought it was one of the best things I've read or heard ever, because it's so true. Water teaches me to swim. The sun teaches me to love life. Words teach me words.