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Free National Poetry Day resource

02 August 2019

Free National Poetry Day resource

Get ready to celebrate National Poetry Day with a free downloadable poetry resource on this year's theme of 'truth' by Schofield & Sims author and poet Celia Warren.

On 3rd October 2019, children across the UK will take part in a wide range of activities and performances to celebrate National Poetry Day. Schofield & Sims has long been a supporter of National Poetry Day and this year is no exception. To mark the 25th anniversary of the event, we have created a free downloadable poetry resource, aimed at pupils in Key Stages 1 and 2, on this year’s theme of ‘truth’.

The resource, titled There’s truth in what I say, is based on the deceptively simple poem ‘Fair Play’ by Benjamin Zephaniah, where truth and lies blur into one another and nothing is quite as it seems.  Teachers will be able to use the suggestions in the resource to deliver an engaging lesson that encourages children to think carefully about the nature of truth and to create their own poems that mirror Zephaniah’s playful style. 

The theme of ‘truth’ is particularly relevant in the age of ‘fake news’, when facts and figures can quickly become distorted. Children are particularly susceptible to manipulation tactics, as they are avid consumers of media yet often lack the experience of older readers. By using poetry to highlight tricky topics such as bias, exaggeration and mistaken observation, children can begin to explore the grey areas of truth-telling in the world around them and develop valuable critical literacy skills. The humorous aspect of ‘Fair Play’ will also appeal to children and help them engage with these provocative questions about truth. 

Benjamin Zephaniah is a bestselling poet, author and playwright. He left school at 13, dyslexic and unable to read or write, but is now one of Britain’s foremost poets. His first book of poetry for children, Talking Turkeys, in which the poem ‘Fair Play’ appears, was a huge success, reprinting after only six weeks and his work continues to resonate with adults and children alike. Zephaniah has also become an important advocate of diversity in literature and his book, Funky Chickens, was chosen this year as one of the Books to Inspire, a list of books, curated by the Hay Festival in conjunction with TES, that provide varying viewpoints and significant stories to inspire the next generation.

Whether you are looking for a resource to use on the day itself, or for teaching poetry more generally, the Schofield & Sims National Poetry Day resource represents a great opportunity to introduce children to Benjamin Zephaniah’s work and his important messages about diversity. The free lesson plan can be downloaded from the National Poetry Day website, along with many other useful resources to help you celebrate poetry in school, whatever the occasion.  

Celia Warren is an established children’s author and poet. Her poems and stories have appeared in hundreds of anthologies and she is a frequent contributor to BBC Television and Radio. She has written a number of books for Schofield & Sims, including A Time to Speak and a Time to Listen – an illustrated poetry anthology for children and young adults, complete with accompanying Teacher’s Guide.

Tags: poetry
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