Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
(Adapted from Wrap Sessions: Town of Islip Recycling Curriculum
Dept of Environmental Control, Town of Islip, NY)
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SUBJECT AREAS: English, language, reading, listening comprehension
CONCEPT: To allow students to identify with the characters.
OBJECTIVE: To increase awareness of how much garbage we produce.
MATERIALS: pen or pencil and handouts:
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Reading/Listing Worksheet
KEYWORDS: compostable, recycle
BACKGROUND: Below is a poem about Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout and how she acts and feels about garbage. As you listen to the teacher read the poem out loud, fill in the worksheet or raise your hand as you hear the words that fill in the worksheet. Start with the words that rhyme, then do it again until you have filled in most of the sheet.
PROCEDURE: Read the poem to students and ask them to fill in the chart below.
FOLLOW-UP: Draw a picture of what you think Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout looks like and how her house looks. When you are finished, help your teacher make a bulletin board to share your ideas with others.

by Shel Silverstein
Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout
Would not take the garbage out.
She'd wash the dishes and scrub the pans
Cook the yams and spice the hams,
And though her parents would scream and shout,
She simply would not take the garbage out.
And so it piled up to the ceiling:
Coffee grounds, potato peelings,
Brown bananas and rotten peas,
Chunks of sour cottage cheese.
It filled the can, it covered the floor,
It cracked the windows and blocked the door,
With bacon rinds and chicken bones,
Drippy ends of ice cream cones,
Prune pits, peach pits, orange peels,
Gloppy glumps of cold oatmeal,
Pizza crusts and withered greens,
Soggy beans, and tangerines,
Crusts of black-burned buttered toast,
Grisly bits of beefy roast.
The garbage rolled on down the halls,
It raised the roof, it broke the walls,
I mean, greasy napkins, cookie crumbs,
Blobs of gooey bubble gum,
Cellophane from old bologna,
Rubbery, blubbery macaroni,
Peanut butter, caked and dry,
Curdled milk, and crusts of pie,
Rotting melons, dried-up mustard,
Eggshells mixed with lemon custard,
Cold French fries and rancid meat,
Yellow lumps of Cream of Wheat.
At last the garbage reached so high
That finally it touched the sky,
And none of her friends would come to play,
And all of her neighbors moved away;
And finally, Sarah Cynthia Stout
Said, "Okay, I'll take the garbage out!"
But then, of course it was too late,
The garbage reached across the state,
From New York to the Golden Gate;
And there in the garbage she did hate
Poor Sarah met an awful fate
That I cannot right now relate
Because the hour is much too late
But children, remember Sarah Stout,
And always take the garbage out.
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WORDS THAT RHYME - Example: Out/Stout
WORDS THAT MEAN GARBAGE - Example: Rotten Peas, Ground Coffee
WORDS THAT SHOW ACTION - Example: Scream/Shout

Circle the best answer:
1) Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout hates
a) garbage
b) food
c) school
2) She is very
a) smart
b) lazy
c) silly
3) Most of the garbage is made of
a) dead leaves
b) old clothes
c) rotten food
4) The garbage is so bad that it
a) is taken to the dump
b) piles up to the sky
c) burned and buried

Fill in the missing words...
1) When Sarah would NOT take the garbage out, her father
_________________ and __________________.
2) The messy food filled the ___________________ and
_______________ of the floor.
3) Two kinds of fruits that were rotting were ______________
and ____________________.
4) A word that means bad or rotten meat is ________________.
5) The garbage spread from __________________ State to the Golden Gate.

Write one or two sentences to answer the following questions:
1) What is Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout's problem?
2) List ten (10) things that mean garbage in the poem. Are they compostable or recyclable?
1. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
2. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
3. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
4. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
5. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
6. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
7. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
8. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
9. _____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
10._____________________________ compostable or recyclable?
3) What happens when Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout won't throw the garbage out?
4) What kind of person do you think she is?
5) What would have happened if she had composted her food scraps?
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