It's good to encourage poetry-sharing at home and a poetry-rich school environment is a great way for children to develop their knowledge and appreciation, where poetry is incorporated into all aspects of life, and an accepted and celebrated part of the culture.
An environment which celebrates poetry acts as a fertile soil in which poetry can flourish. It is key to effective poetry teaching and learning. Jenny Vernon, Advisory Teacher, CLPE
Most of the following could be used within a class, year group or a whole school.
Ensure your poetry shelf or corner is well-stocked with a wide range of anthologies and single-poet collections. Provide a good selection of recordings and headphones alongside.
Have a poetry notice board and/or web page for pupils and staff to share their own or others’ poems, news of poetry events and poetry programmes on TV or radio. Make sure it’s regularly refreshed to maintain interest.
Poem of the week.
As well as displaying your weekly poem, have it read aloud every day (with a different readers and recordings, if possible). By the end of the week, children may well be joining. Invite children – or perhaps visitors to the school – to suggest a poem of the week.
Poet of the month.
Create a display of books, photos, selected poems. Make it possible for children to add their poems and comments.
There’s a poem for that.
Almost any topic or part of the curriculum can be enriched through occasional poems that offer a chance to reflect or think. The more poems you know and have up your sleeve, the more easily you’ll be able to bring them in.
Put on a mini-festival or themed poetry event for National Poetry Day (or for any day or theme) – with performances from children and staff. Mix it up, with group as well as individual performances, and children’s own poems as well as published poetry.
Are there any poets in or from your locality? They might be a well-known name from the past, or a living poet. Find out about them and their poetry. A living poet could of course be invited to visit.
Invite children compile a class anthology on theme, asking them to think carefully about the order and presentation. The process of selection and arrangement is an extremely good way of encouraging engagement with the poems. The anthology could include both published poems and the children’s own.
Similarly, children could make a ‘mixtape’ or themed playlist.
Invite children to ask a parent, grandparent or other relative for their favourite poem, perhaps conducting a short interview about the poem and any associated memories. Children could record their interviewee reading and/or prepare their own performance of it. They could then talk about what poem they would choose to pass on.