Weekly Reading Tip – Fostering A Love of Poetry

Dear Parents,

In our drive to encourage our children to read, we often focus on longer texts, like fiction books and non-fiction texts, which can require the child to do a lot of reading before we begin to look at their understanding. Poetry can offer a wonderful alternative between books. As well as generally requiring less reading on your child’s part, they can be rich with hidden messages or themes, figurative language (thought-provoking similes or metaphors, alliteration or onomatopoeia), interesting rhymes to play with or memorise and provide a structure which can lead the reader’s journey through the poem in engaging or challenging ways.  

All these skills are hugely beneficial to your child’s reading comprehension and their writing.  In addition, they are the perfect source with which to develop your child’s inference skills – the ability to make links between what you have explicitly been told, in order to reason what you have not been told.  Questions like, ‘How do you think the narrator is feeling at this point in the poem/story?’ and ‘Why do you think the poet acted this way?’ often target inference skills.

For the younger years, many picture books are written in rhyme and make excellent links between the nursery rhymes they will learn pre-school to the texts they will be reading in KS1.  Julia Donaldson actually wrote her first book, ‘A Squash and A Squeeze’, as a song before turning it into a book!

Other poets who are popular with children (and adults!) include Benjamin Zephaniah, Roger Stevens, Roger McGough, Valeie Bloom, Michael Rosen, Roald Dahl, Carol Ann Duffy, John Agard, Spike Milligan and Grace Nichols.

There are also several excellent books which provide a multitude of poems for children to enjoy.  Our favourites are:

‘The Works’ – poems chosen by Paul Cookson, published by MacMillan

‘The Works KS2’ – poems chosen by Pie Corbett, published by MacMillan

‘The Works 4’ – poems chosen by Pie Corbett and Gaby Morgan, published by MacMillan Poetry

This is an excellent article on how to introduce younger readers to poems from the Reading Rockets website:

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/using-poetry-teach-reading

For more reading on poetry for children try these links:

https://www.familyfriendpoems.com/poems/famous/children/
https://www.poetryfoundation.org/learn/children

https://www.poetry4kids.com/classics

Mrs Puddephatt, Mrs Andrews and Mrs Barton
Burford Reading Team