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How youngsters engage with poetry – teachers, can you help?

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The National Literacy Trust has launched what it calls "the biggest survey to date about children and young people’s engagement with poetry". They are asking teachers for their help in discovering what motivates children and young people to read, write and perform poetry, how they engage with poetry in different formats - such as print and social media - how they might use poetry to support their mental well-being, and the issues and causes they care about. Those who don’t read, write or perform poetry will be asked how poetry might be made more interesting to them.

Their 2023 Annual Literacy Survey of 60,000 8- to 18-year-olds found that over the previous decade there had been a steady increase in youngsters who read poetry, with one in five writing poetry in their spare time.

Open to all UK 8- to 18-year-olds, the current survey is live from 7 May until 21 June 2024, and participation is free. Teachers can sign on behalf of their classes and schools, and, as a thank you for taking part, will receive a summary of their own pupils' responses.



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M.C. Newberry

Sat 18th May 2024 14:04

Introducing poetry to youngsters is a most worthwhile exercise
in adding quality to a life. The enthusiasm of the teacher is paramount and can be the portal through which young minds
pass to discover a treasure chest that will enrich their existence.
Adapting poetry to the audience in question is a vital aspect.
Whilst R.L. Stevenson's verse might capture a young child's
imagination. an older youngster might be more able to go with
more mature content, such as the war poems of Sassoon
and Owen. The reward for any teacher must surely be the
responses to the words chosen to pull a class into a world
of his/her choosing.
I can readily imagine a teacher appearing suddenly in front of a
class and declaiming in a loud theatrical tone to shock and
surprise. Like an actor on stage seizing an audience by the
collective scruff of the neck.
"Good morning, good morning," the general said,
When we met him last week on our way to the line..."

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