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SLA Blog » August 2008RSS Feed RSS

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Scholastic helps to provide much-needed poetry resources for primary schools

Scholastic magazine, Literacy Time PLUS,have appointed a Poet-in-Residence to help address growing concerns about children's poetry.

The Ofsted report, Poetry in Schools (2006/07) found that ‘pupils in schools visited enjoyed poetry' and ‘pupils in primary schools, in particular, enthused about opportunities to read aloud and perform poems to a larger audience'.  However, the Ofsted report also found that many teachers, especially in primary schools, did not know enough about poetry 'to provide effective lessons' with well-chosen activities. 

The ‘Teachers as Readers Report' for the UKLA (2006-07) discovered that when asked to name 6 good poets, only 10% of teachers surveyed were able to do so.  59% could only name one, two or no poets.

A recent summit concerning children's poetry attended by key organisations, including the National Literacy Trust, Poetry Book Society and the Children Poet Laureate, Michael Rosen, endorsed these findings.  The summit aimed to highlight the cultural and educational importance of poetry and to look for ways to enhance its profile in the UK.

Jonathan Douglas, Director of the National Literacy Trust, "Poetry is a vibrant and engaging experience of literacy which all children deserve to experience.  Recent research had indicated many children miss out on poetry in the classroom.  Resources which promote poetry are therefore vital in bringing alive a love of poetry in a new generation."

In a positive step to help primary teachers improve their use of poetry and to provide poetry performance workshops for primary schools with limited resources, Scholastic magazine's Literacy Time PLUS has appointed Paul Cookson as its Poet-in-Residence. 

Paul is one of Britain's leading children's poets and is helping the Literacy Time PLUS team with the exciting new project.  The September issues will see the first in a three part series - Paul Cookson Performance Poetry Workshops.  To launch the series, there will be a two-page introductory article by Paul which will appear both in print and online.  Part 1 will feature a film online of Paul performing four poems in a primary school in Warwickshire and the text versions of all four poems performed will be available to download.  Parts 2 and 3 of the workshop series will appear in the January and May 2009 issues and each will feature films of in-school workshops.

"Through this project, we aim to bring performance poetry within the reach of all primary school children", said Helen Watts, Editor of Literacy Time PLUS.  "We are delighted to be able to work with Paul.  I have seen him perform in primary schools and heard teachers saying how inspired they are by his work. Watching the faces of his young audiences is a joy. Young and old are completely captivated by his lively and entertaining style and subject matter. Paul writes about things that really do appeal to children - not what we think ought to appeal to them. But he is also able to mix up humorous poems with poignant ones which touch and move you."

In addition to the online workshops, Paul will be writing a regular ‘Paul Cookson Page' in every issue from July 2008 to May 2009 and there will be special features on the website dedicated to Paul's blog and poems.  On his new role Paul said "I'm honoured to be asked!  Readers can look forward to lots of things - news, projects, how a poet works .... I'll even give you a sneak preview of new and unpublished poems - perhaps even some of the cheeky ones that have yet to make it into print! 

For more information: Contact Sarah Sandland ssandland[at]scholastic.co.uk (Tel: 01926 333336)


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SLA appoints new Chief Executive

Tricia AdamsThe SLA is delighted to announce the appointment of Tricia Adams as new Chief Executive of the Association. Tricia writes:

"As a professional librarian with more years experience than I care to mention – I have worked in several sectors including government libraries and as a self employed information specialist but have come back to my favourite – of working with children, in various guises, for the last 17 years. This has included a spell as a primary school librarian, before moving back to public libraries in my home county of Northamptonshire, where I have been Head of Children’s and Young People’s Public Library Services and the manager of the Schools’ Library Service – Learning Resources for Education. A lifelong love of reading and collecting children’s books, amongst others, has created a collection so rambling that the house has to be extended every few years!

I am looking forward to being able to use my experience to continue the excellent work the SLA has established and I look forward to meeting many of you as I start my new role as Chief Executive in October."

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