Skip to Content

Making poetry fun

3 October 2005

This week sees a great outpouring of poetry in Britain’s schools, many of which will be celebrating National Poetry Day with a visit from a poet. These visits have brought poetry to millions of children, making them realise just how much fun it can be.

The Poetry Society invites everyone to vote for the poem they would most like to send into space, to be read in 100 years’ time. The 'Poem for Space' poll is launched to tie in with this year's theme of The Future, and to mark the twelfth National Poetry Day on 6 October.

The Poetry Book Society reworks its children’s book club, the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf, with the launch of a new fun-filled, child-friendly website, It’s reaching out on a global scale to new audiences of parents, grandparents and libraries, providing a selection of the best new poetry and wonderful backlist books. The CPB is also stepping up its educational activities to provide teachers, and anyone else who wants them, with activity sheets to help adults encourage children to read and enjoy poetry.

Andrew MotionEnglish poet, novelist and biographer; Poet Laureate of United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009; during his laureateship founded the Poetry Archive, an online resource of poems and audio recordings of poets reading their own work, the Poet Laureate, and poets Wes Magee and Valerie Bloom will be taking part in the relaunch of the Children’s Poetry Bookshelf in a jamboree of poetry in London on Sunday 9 October. This is the first of four family events which will provide fun for the children and encourage parents and grandparents to join in and get the best new poetry books sent to their children.

The children’s poetry scene is jumping in the UK, as many of the wonderful poets writing for children - Adrian Mitchell, Ian McMillan, John Hegley, Brian Patten, Grace Nicholls and Roger McGough, amongst many others - have inspired a generation of children to discover for themselves that poetry is fun.

National Poetry Day is embedded in Children’s Book Week, with many more activities designed to bring the joys of books to children. The new Children’s Laureate, bestselling author Jacqueline Wilson, is just beginning to use her two years in the job to focus on the joys of reading aloud and encouraging children to find out - and enjoy - the great classics of children’s literature.

And does all this activity make a difference? Well, yes, it really does. A whole generation of children is being encouraged to find that books are not just for school. They are straying outside the confines of the national curriculum to discover that poetry can be great fun, and that a book really can be the gateway to another world.