Reading Poetry Festival children’s event

As part of the Reading Poetry Festival we ran a children’s workshop on Tuesday 20 October. It was attended by a total of 60 Year 2 & 3 children from Shinfield Infant School and Manor Primary School.

 Primary schools poetry day picture #1

Dr Neil Cocks and poet Ashley Harrold led two incredibly engaging sessions – by turns hilarious, challenging, creepy, spooky, wonderful and strange!

 Ashley described his session like this:

“My intention in this year’s Reading Poetry Festival Children’s Workshop is to have some fun with poetry, playing with language and vocabulary and pointing the kids towards routes into writing their own work. I will talk, cajole, question, listen, tease and expound upon things that have to do with literacy and poetry, but which might seem like a grown up being silly at the time. I will encourage and invigorate, hoping to blow away the myths that poetry is dull by playing games with words that will leave minds open to the understanding that it’s all around us. Basically, in short, we’ll have some fun with poems and make some stuff up in the room using ideas that the kids come up with on the day. Poetry lives!”

Neil wrote: “I will be using rhythm as the starting point for writing poems. Letting rhythm dictate in this way can lead to unexpected results, and offers an alternative approach to the writing of poetry.”


Primary schools poetry day picture #2


Some of the teachers commented:

“This event was brilliant and the children were enthused and engaged with the activities”

“Fast pace and fun got pupils engaged”


“The excitement of the workshop really showed how poems can come to life”


“The organisation of the morning was fantastic, and the location was perfect”


“Our children giggled and absorbed. Thank you!”

One of the teachers has put a few films on her class blog, which you might like to view.

About Cindy

Associate Professor in the Department of English Literature at the University of Reading. Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy.
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