Sharing the Love of Poetry
Children’s lives are packed with poetry; they participate in a world of words and play with these eagerly, often without recognising the essentially poetic nature of playground rhymes, songs, chants, jingles, jokes and lyrics for instance. Young people find intense pleasure in verbal play and are drawn to the sound and visual effects of poetry and many enjoy watching poets’ perform online. Recognising and celebrating their affinity with poetry is important. As educators, poets and parents we want to help them develop and sustain positive attitudes and pleasurable engagement in reading, writing, listening to and performing poetry.
So, drawing on some partnership work with Eve Vollans from Mayflower Community Academy in Plymouth and a team of talented teachers, I have created some mini reading challenges – invitations to engage and share the love of poetry!
They are underpinned by OU research which shows that reading for pleasure is supported by reading aloud and time to talk about texts, as well as time to read, alone, and with others. Rich practice which supports a love of reading is, I argue, Learner led, Informal, Social and with Texts that Tempt (LIST).
Poetry tempts many young people, so why not offer these invitations to children and families you know and invite them to explore and then share their pleasure in poetry with teachers, friends or family. They might for example choose to become Poetry Detectives in their homes – on the hunt for word play in lyrics, adverts, picture books and newspapers. They might pop a poem or joke in their window to engage passers-by, find out their parents’ favourite childhood poems, or explore The Children’s Poetry Archive- the opportunities are almost endless.
Adults, as poetry loving role models, can participate too!
So feel free to invite – engage – enjoy and share the love of poetry widely!
Teresa is Professor of Education (Literacy) at the Open University. An advocate of teachers’ creative artistry, Teresa is also passionate about developing readers for life and leads a professional user-community website based on her research into reading for pleasure. Research Rich Pedagogies supports over 80 OU/UKLA Teachers’ Reading Groups and 24 HEI partnerships across the country. Her most recent book is Reading for Pleasure in the Digital Age: Mapping Reader Engagement (2020, Sage). Teresa Cremin’s OU webpage.