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Check out the activities for using poetry to teach reading


Anthony Horowitz

This poem is a nice source of optimism in troubling times. Please do read this to your class whenever you get the chance!

Questions for discussion

1) What does 'seldom' mean?

2) What picture does the author paint of the town 'Hope' at the start of the poem? (2 marks)

3) What is the message of the poem? (2 marks)

4) Give the names of two people from the poem and how they are described. (2 marks)

5) Why did the author choose to include the last two sentences? (1 mark)

Click here for a link to the poem.

Our Heros

Matthew Kelly

This poem is a wonderful tribute to the NHS, and acts a great prompt for writing around the current crisis. 

Matthew Kelly, from Salford borrows the language of wartime to paint NHS staff as fighters on the front line against an invisible enemy. 

There are many ways in which you can go with this poem:

A) PSHE discussion point about roles in society

B) A prompt for writing poetry about the NHS and other key worker groups

C) A prompt for writing thank you letters to NHS staff

Here is a link to a written version of the poem.

What If Instead Of Being Behind These Kids Are Ahead?

Jaime Ragsdale

This is a beautiful poem for discussing the effects of the ongoing pandemic - Jaime Ragslade poses the idea that children may learn an appreciation for life that perhaps has been missing.

It is a great opportunity to focus on positives with your class. Read the poem with them and ask them: 'What good things can come out of this crisis?' and 'How can we make the most of our time indoors?'.


There is an interesting opportunity for writing either a letter, about what they want the world to look like after this is all finished. Or a diary entry about how life has changed, but what they have learned from this.

Finding things to be optimistic about is a really difficult thing to do at a time like this, but this poem shows that we all might learn to enjoy the simpler things in life once again.

Click here for a link to the poem.

New Beginnings

Tony Walsh

Tony Walsh's 'New Beginnings' is a lovely poem for Year 6s about to head to high school.


1) It could be used to inspire Y6s to write a poem about how they feel about moving on to high school. They things that they are worried about; the things that are hopeful for.

2) You could get the children in your Year 5/6 class to write a similar style poem to children in the infants. A poem expressing wisdom on how to best enjoy the juniors and what to look forward to.


1) Find and copy one word that means 'a part of a building that you can use'. (1 mark)

2) 'If you keep a burningurge to learn' - what does the phrase 'burning urge' mean in this context? (1 mark)

3) Find and copy one word that means 'goal'. (1 mark)

4) Explain why the author chose the title 'New Beginnings'. (1 mark)

5) How does the author feel about high school? Use evidence to support your answer (3 marks)

6) Summarise why the author wrote this poem. (1 mark)

Click here for a link to the poem.

Can We Auto-Correct Humanity?

Prinace Ea

This is a really great poem about our use of social media, and how it's captures our attention at the expense of us communicating in more meaningful ways.

Persuasive Writing

If you are doing any persuasive writing on the topic of 'Social Media' then this poem is a wonderful stimulus as it lays out the negative impacts that the technology has upon all of our lives. Prinace Ea's poem is very relatable so most children in Y5 & Y6 will be able to access it; it also has some wonderful phrases that the children could adapt to include in their writing.

Hope it's useful.


Ciaran Carson

Fear by Ciaran Carson is a wonderful poem for dicussing worry and anxiety with children. The poem, written in 1948, sees the author list the things that he worries about; these range from small everyday worries, to even the fear that 'gremlins' have colonised his brain.

The poem is easy enough to access and offers and opportunity for children to discuss the things that they might worry about.


As a class, list little things that we all worry about, possibly things that our minds run away with and that can seem a lot more worrying that they actually should be. Write these up as a poem in the same style as 'Fear', by starting each line with 'I fear...'.

Extension: afterwards the children can then have a go at coming up with their own.

I couldn't find a reading of the poem on YouTube, so I've added a children's information video on anxiety in the box on the left. Hope it's useful!

Click here for a link to the the poem.

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