Trainee teacher is this year’s winner of Raymond Wilson Poetry Prize

Every year, UoR students are invited to explore their creative side by entering the Raymond Wilson Poetry Competition. Held in memory of the late brilliant educationalist and Emeritus Professor of Education at Reading, the prize awards £200 for the winning poem.

Judy with her prize
Poet and teacher Judy Ridell with her prize

This year’s winner, Judy Ridell is a Reading Partnership Trainee on the School Direct (Primary) Programme. She has taught Early Years for a decade and her poem, ‘You Can Count on Mrs Chooit’, describes in humorous detail the many things a teacher can do to make a child’s learning engaging, whilst also reflecting the daily excitement and challenge that a teacher encounters.

The competition is judged by children in a local school and their vote carries equal weight with that of a published children’s poet and with an academic; competition organiser, Stephanie Sharp of the IoE. This brings the perspectives of teacher, writer and young reader to bear on the judging. 

The children on the panel responded happily to this year’s winning poem’s play on rhyming fun to support number learning, saying:

“It flows and has rhythm”                    

“We liked the inspirational message – be positive and counting and relying on others”

“It was happy and exciting”

“It helps younger children to learn their numbers by remembering the rhyme”

As well as being a poet, Judy can boast the unusual attainment of being a performance standard Middle Eastern dancer. Her other hobbies of knitting and crafting are slightly less exotic but draw on the same creative vein. Judy shares her home with her three children, a big dog and a rabbit and devotes her time to poetry, dancing and teaching.

Raymond Wilson was an exceptional educationalist, as well as an inspired educational editor who introduced new editions of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poetry and Jane Austen’s novels. Wilson was also well-known as an intuitive, sensitive critic and a prolific anthologist.

More information: 2675). 


You Can Count on Mrs Chooit

If you are going to school today, you’re sure of a lovely surprise,

Your teacher is Mrs Chooit today, she’s waiting for you to arrive!

Whatever happens at school today, you know that you can do it,

Whatever happens at school today, you can count on Mrs Chooit.


She’ll give you

One big hug to show her love

Two cool drinks to help you think  

Three picture books, let’s take a look!

Four number songs to sing along

Five water trays to pour and play

Six toy bears to see if they’ll float

Seven coloured pencils to draw round stencils

Eight speedy trikes – go as fast as you8 like!

Nine paint pots, lets paint some circles and some dots

Ten gold stars for trying so hard!


Whatever happened at school today, did you find that you can do it?

Whatever happened at school today, you can count on Mrs Chooit!

Judy Ridell

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