Tag archives: children’s poetry

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

The Poetry Society’s projects to support poetry teaching and learning

Poetry Soc -venueLast night’s IBBY UK AGM was held at the Poetry Place and was accompanied by a fascinating talk about the Poetry Society’s educational work by Education Projects Coordinator Lucy Wood. The Society runs lots of great schemes to support poetry teaching and learning.

The Foyle Young Poets Award inspires poetic talent in 11-17 year-olds. Winners get professional help with their writing and have their poem printed in the Foyle Winners Anthology. Previous winners have gone on to great things. The Society provides lesson plans and support to partaking schools. Poetry Soc - booklets

They also have an impressive Poets in Schools scheme.

Poetry Train is a new free booklet produced to give teachers more confidence in teaching poetry at key stages 1 and 2. It’s full of teaching ideas based on poems by some excellent poets.

SLAMbassadors UK has a powerful track record in fostering poetry reading, writing and performance among 12-18 year-olds. The theme is identity. The winners’ work is showcased at a live performance in London.

The Young Poets Network is a forum for young poets of 25 and under. Thousands are signed up to this support community.

Twitter users can follow the Education Team at @poetry_soc_uk.

While I’m on the subject of children’s and young people’s poetry, a reminder about the CLPE Poetry Award, the only award for published poetry in the UK. There’s a very strong shortlist, and the winner will be announced on 17 July.

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

It doesn’t have to rhyme: children and poetry

Saturday’s IBBY conference was fantastic. Wonderful sessions by great poets and academics on how poetry works and why it matters.

Morag Styles was inspiring, demonstrating how poetry ‘gets to the parts other literature doesn’t reach’. Like many of the speakers, she lamented current literacy teaching (especially the ‘eat up your greens’ approach to poetry teaching), and public sector budget cuts, and their impact on children’s access to poetry. But she also celebrated the fact that children’s poetry still thrives, in schools and out – lovely to hear about poems on Wimpy napkins.

And just to prove her words, we saw a fantastic video of poetry slam winner Sarah Olowofoyeku performing ‘Please mind the gap’, and heard about contemporary poetry publishing from an expert panel.

Michael Rosen’s lecture on how poetry ‘does its stuff’ was brilliant: erudite, insightful and very funny. Who else would think to use ‘It’s raining, it’s pouring’ as their main text? He had loads of practical ideas for making schools poetry-friendly. Instead of adjective-spotting exercises, the emphasis should be on performance and on open discussion that delves into meaning and children’s responses.

I felt very lucky to attend a workshop by Kimberly Black and Imogen Church. Kimberly was fascinating about the prevalence and value of young people’s spoken word poetry in the US, showing us how participatory poetry is a form of democratic engagement. Imogen was very interesting on poetry written by juvenile offenders. Writers working with young offenders know never to ask them to write poems; suggesting ‘spitting bars’ is a whole lot more acceptable.

Philip Gross gave us yet more proof of the power of poetry with fabulous renditions of poems from his newest book, Off Road to Everywhere. The conference ended with a fascinating talk by the amazing Jacqueline Wilson on the processes of putting together her new anthology of poems for girls, Green Glass Beads.