World Poetry Day
Poetry is the sound of words in your ears, it’s the look of poets in motion and that can be you. Make your poems sing, whisper, shout and float. Let the words make the rhythm and give the viewers a buzz to see you.Michael Rosen
UNESCO first adopted 21st March as World Poetry Day during its 1999 General Conference in Paris; with the aim of promoting the reading, writing, publishing and teaching of poetry around the world.
If you would like to know more about the history – as well as some of the present day workings – of World Poetry Day then please take a look here, at the United Nations webpage all about World Poetry Day.
Why is World Poetry Day Celebrated?
To some, poetry can be considered old-fashioned in today’s modern world filled with technology.
The observance of World Poetry Day is meant to encourage a return to the tradition of poetry readings, to promote the teaching of poetry, to restore a connection between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting, and to support small publishers and create an attractive image of poetry in the media, so that the art of poetry will no longer be considered an outdated form of art.
Why is it Important to Learn about Poetry?
Reading poetry teaches children how to express their emotions. It introduces children to new vocabulary and rhythms; poetry is often rich with interesting and varied language and poetic devices.
Poetry can improve children’s creative thinking and problem–solving skills as it requires children to interpret what they’ve read, and often it will take reading a poem several times to truly understand its meaning.
Learning to recite poetry is also a great way to improve children’s memory and help them remember new words and phrases.
Poems to Teach to Children
If you’re unsure which poems or poets to focus on, here are a few ideas:
- Some of Michael Rosen’s recommended books for the Poetry-Friendly Classroom
- The Children’s Poetry Archive; You can search by topic to find an excellent selection of poems. You may like to choose a topic that you have recently discussed in class.
- The Poetry Zone; You will find many examples of poems here, some of which are written by children. There’s also a teachers’ section which has book reviews of children’s poetry books and plenty of advice regarding classroom resources.
Host a poetry reading event
Creating an after–school or lunchtime club would be a great way to get children involved in the creation and reading of poetry and may encourage the children to continue poetry in their free time at home.
Hosting a Slam Poetry event can add a new and fun twist. Slam Poetry is more commonly known as a ‘performance poetry‘ which the children may enjoy more as they can explore ways of acting and adding new life into their reading.
- BBC Schools site for teachers includes lots of poetry resources and activities
- The Poetry Archive holds the most comprehensive collection of contemporary poets reading their own work in the UK. It includes areas for pupils and teachers as well as activities for the classroom
- The Poetry Society features all things to do with poetry in the UK, including a site for young fans of reading and writing poetry
- The Poetry Library offers comprehensive information for poetry publications and poetry-related activities
- The Scottish Poetry Library features an idea-bank, resources for teachers, information on competitions and programmes of live events
Have a great day!
We hope these ideas have given you some inspiration for how to teach about World Poetry Day.
If you have any great teaching ideas for this topic, feel free to comment below (they might even get added into the topic calendar!).