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Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom

by Gervase Phinn Crown House Publishing
Pub Date:
Pbk 160 pages
AU$55.99 NZ$59.12
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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& Academics:
When asked by the school inspector what he thought of poetry, an eleven year old replied that “it’s all la-di-da and daffodils, isn’t it?” In his primary school the boy had come across very little poetry apart from nursery rhymes, snatches of rhyming verse and a few comic pieces and nonsense poems. Poetry to him was something arcane, not really related to his own life. He had studied no powerful, challenging, contemplative, arresting, quirky poems and had written very few poems himself. His teacher admitted that he was no English specialist, had received few ideas at college on the teaching of poetry and didn’t really know where to start.

As children progress through the primary school they need to be exposed to a rich diet of poetry and encouraged to read, perform and write it themselves. Providing a varied and stimulating environment is essential if is to flourish. In addition, children need specific guidance and ideas to start them off writing their own poems. This book, written by a former teacher and school inspector, and popular and widely published children’s poet, offers an accessible, practical and structured programme for the teaching of this sometimes neglected aspect of the English curriculum.

''Gervase Phinn is probably best known now as a broadcaster; but as well as his careers as teacher, adviser and inspector, he has spent many years writing poetry and running workshops on how to teach poetry effectively. His book contains suggestions for anthologies appropriate for children of various ages, and details of Gervase's own collections (see www.gervasephinn for more), plus examples of a wide range of children's work. This very practical guide is full of fun, wisdom and guidance to help put the teaching of poetry where it belongs - at the heart of all English teaching.''
- Headteacher Update February 2009

''This book offers a real treat for all primary school teachers. An intuitive guide for teachers to expose all of their pupils to a rich variety of poetry, whilst encouraging them to read, perform and record their own material. Similarly, Phinn aims to equip teachers with the confidence and creativity to allow poetry and language to flourish cross-curricularly. As a result, this book offers constructive teaching ideas for teaching virtually all sub-genres of poetry, using a variety of other curriculum subjects, such as art, drama, PSHE and much more.

Significantly, Phinn highlights how important it is for teachers to create a suitable atmosphere for pupils to produce creative poetry. He suggests combining a first hand experience of listening to visiting poets and regular exposure to quality poems, with giving pupils sufficient time to practise speaking, listening and writing their own and their peers' poetry. Furthermore, developing poetry reading as a regular activity in primary schools ' could go a long way to enriching children's love of telling, reading, writing and creating their own poems An essential addition to all classroom libraries... And a distinct 'must' for all primary school teachers.''
- Laura Ciftci, School Librarian Magazine, April 2009

''Anyone working with children in the seven to 12 age group will be aware how much they enjoy rhymes and rhythm. Gervase Phinn tries to capture this enthusiasm in his book. He provides examples of poetry thatare accessible and very readable.
There are plenty of ideas to help teachers introduce children to poetry and then maintain that interest. The book takes a back-to-basics approach that is very welcome. As well as providing some fantastic examples, it gives children ideas for writing their own.
Here is a book that promotes interest in this most neglected part of the curriculum.''
- Lee Ryder, Teacher July 2009
Professor Gervase Phinn taught in a range of schools for fourteen years before becoming an education adviser and school inspector. He is now a freelance lecturer, broadcaster and writer, a consultant for the Open University. He is President of The School Library Association.