Reading Aloud and Re-Reading Poetry

Poetry is rooted in word games, word play, song and rhythm, and it's therefore particularly important that it should be heard as well as read. If poetry is not given a voice, if it just stays on the page as a printed object, then it is not going to come alive for most children. As children come to be more at home with poetry they will begin to regard it as a normal use for language, as something that they can engage in themselves as readers or as writers, and not as a strange hostile form.

The experience of being read to is likely to be the real foundation of children’s knowledge of poetry, and is also going to be a major influence on how they write themselves. So it is important that it should be as rich, interesting and ‘ear-catching’ as it can be. It is important that voices other than the teacher’s should be heard interpreting a poem. In this way, a range of accents, dialects and voices can be introduced into the reading. It can be particularly valuable for children to hear the poets themselves reading their own poems. This allows authentic voices to be heard. The Poems section of this website includes a wide variety of poet's voices and is a valuable resource for this purpose.