The areas of English taught at Key Stage 1[KS1] and Key Stage 2 [KS2]
are set out in the National Curriculum [NC] document. Poetry is one of
these areas. At KS1 children should read and listen to nursery rhymes
and poetry, learning some by heart, and read aloud. At KS2 children
should read aloud, telling and enacting stories and poems. The
National Literacy Strategy [NLS] guides teachers on which poems and
poetic forms to teach in the classroom. There are two recent views
that the NC and the NLS are failing in their approach to poetry.
· According to Carter, the NC for English is very limited in its
approach to poetry [Carter, 1998]. He argues that the NC fails to take
on board the potential poetry has to offer in many areas of a child's
development such as language, sensibility and dream power.
· Bielby , as cited by Lambirth, argues that children come to
school already enjoying rhyme and poetry yet this enjoyment is being
corrupted by the analytical and technical approach of the NLS. Poetry
should be about exposing children to poetry and allowing them to
respond as children.[Lambirth, 2001]
These are both valid points, but is it the fault of the NC and the NLS
that poetry is seen as a challenge and daunting area both to teach and
learn. I briefly intend to illustrate why it is important to teach
poetry as part of the NC.
Promotes awareness of language
Children's ability to respond to words and sounds is almost innate.
According to the Oral Language Development Continuum  babies
under one year old, when they babble, include all sounds and
selectively drop those that do not occurring their own language. This
playing continues with the development...
... middle of paper ...
...ed the importance of poetry or do
not have the confidence to teach poetry. Therefore poetry does not
achieve it full potential for the children.
- Bentley et al, 2001
- The Really Practical Guide To Primary English, Nelson Thornes, UK
Carter, D 1998
- Teaching Poetry In The Primary School, David Fulton Publishers, London
Ed. Fisher, R and Williams, M 2000
- Unlocking Literacy- A Guide For Teachers, David Fulton Publishers, London
Lambirth , A Feb 2001
- Gaining confidence and conviction, The Primary English Magazine p30- 32,
- Oral Language Developmental Continuum, Rigby Heinemann, Perth, W.A Whitehead, M
- Language And Literacy In The Early Years, Paul Chapman Publishing Ltd, London
Background reading Marsh , G 1988
- Teaching through poetry, Hodder and Stroughton, London Tann, S 1992
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