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Tiny Owl’s Children & Poetry campaign continues

Buy Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me 

Poetry can have a profound and almost magical effect on people. One line of a poem can transport us to somewhere else entirely. Writing and reading poetry can help children develop empathy skills, aid literacy, and is fun! With the launch of our latest poetry book Thinker: My Puppy Poet and Me we have started a campaign to explore ways that we can encourage children to get involved with poetry. If you’re a parent, teacher or poetry lover then we hope that this campaign will help inspire you to bring amazing poetry to children.

We contacted children’s poets and experts and asked them:

How can we encourage children to discover and embrace poetry for themselves?

We have a fantastic response from Jean Atkin.

Jean Atkin: 

Jean Atkin

Help children approach writing and reading poetry with a sense of confidence, playfulness and freedom

As a poet in education I work with children both in and out of school, on a whole range of different projects, and often out of doors. I find the single biggest thing in encouraging children to discover and embrace poetry for themselves is to help them approach writing it – and reading it – with confidence, a sense of playfulness and freedom.

I say to them, ‘What’s your opinion?’ and ‘Which line works for you?’. I say, ‘Trust yourself, write what’s coming’. Then we work aloud, listening for rhythm and the pleasures of sound. When we’ve got a final edit, we celebrate by sharing, reading aloud and being an audience.

Here’s a poem written by an eight year old after handling an empty bird’s nest –

And then there is poetry for sheer fun, and collaboration with a friend, like this one written by a pair of ten-year-olds (and spot those experimental half-rhymes!) –

I’m a pop without a lolly
I’m a shop without a trolley

I’m a sun without a moon
I’m a stick without a broom

I’m a clock without a time
I’m a poem without a rhyme

I’m a house without a room
I’m a mouth without a tooth

I’m a flower without a petal
I’m a bike without a pedal

I’m a book without a story
I’m a Nemo without a Dory

I’m the tea without the bag
I’m the price without a tag

I’m a car without a wheel
I’m a dessert without a meal

I’m an outfit without a shoe
I’m a bathroom without a loo

…and I’ve got it worse than you!

Jean Atkin is poet in residence for Hargate Primary in West Bromwich, and works regularly in other schools, libraries, and museums. She provides ‘poetry-theatre’ as The Spellwright, writing small spell-poems on parchment, complete with sealing wax, for the public at festivals and events.

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