The CLiPPA – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Poetry Award – is the only award for published poetry for children in the UK. In this blog, CLiPPA Judge and CLPE Learning Programmes Leader, Charlotte Hacking, explores why poetry is fundamental to developing children’s literacy and talks about how to engage children in a love of poetry through the CLiPPA Schools Shadowing scheme.
Congratulations to Michael Rosen for winning this year’s CLiPPA for On the Move!
The CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme supports schools and teachers in developing a love of poetry in children. Those signed up to the scheme can access a range of resources, including videos of poets performing and talking about their work and teaching notes detailing how to use each shortlisted text.
In each set of teaching notes there is a focus on listening to poetry, capturing children’s initial responses, performing poetry, responding deeply to language and themes, learning about poetic forms and devices and encouraging children to become writers of poetry themselves. As such, these are also perfect to use with a book group.
Poetry is a perfect vehicle for engaging more reluctant readers and for tuning more confident readers into paying attention to the words on the page. The tunes and patterns of poetry on the page support children in developing reading fluency, the space on the page left between lines and stanzas for the reader to make their own interpretations develops comprehension.
A focus on rhyme helps children to look at patterns within words and how they are formed, supporting word recognition and spelling. Playing with sounds and rhyming patterns in words supports the development of the vocal apparatus in the mouth, pharynx and nose, supporting speech and language development, as well as for the articulation of phonemes. Children with a good awareness of rhyme and good initial rhyming skills tend to become better readers and spellers.
Reading well-written poetry allows us to look at ways to compose ideas effectively, using the best language, the most thought through layout and most necessary punctuation to convey meaning. Children can look much more deeply at authorial intent, understanding why choices have been made and the effects these have – a high level skill as a reader and a writer.
Reponses to poems depend on what the reader brings to the experience, a poem is not a puzzle to be solved. In this way, there is no right or wrong when talking about poems or sharing opinions about what they are listening to or reading. Poetry opens a realm of the possible, extending children’s interpretive skills beyond the literal.
Poetry also supports the development of children’s emotional literacy. They can learn to manage and reflect on their emotions, feelings and behaviour very effectively through drawing on experiences they hear about in poems shared. This helps children to make sense of experiences and to feel connected with others.
In our work with schools and children, we have seen many examples of children gaining a sense of voice and choice through writing poetry of their own. In a poem it is possible to give form and significance to particular events or feelings and to communicate this to the reader or to the listener.
Here’s a step by step guide to entering the CLiPPA Shadowing Scheme 2021:
Just take one of the shortlisted collections and share with the children using our dedicated teaching sequences.
Allow individuals or groups of children to choose a favourite poem from a shortlisted collection and work this up as a performance. The teaching notes will give you the opportunity to do this.
Video the performances, reflect on these together and pick the best ones to send to the judging panel at CLPE.
The judging panel will watch all the video entries and select a winner to represent each shortlisted book.
A shadowing winner will be chosen for each shortlisted collection, as well as one overall winner. Shadowing Scheme winners will be announced on the 29th November 2021 and will win an array of poetry prizes, including the chance to perform at events that celebrate the award and shortlist.
The award is the only award in the country dedicated to children’s published poetry and we’ve been really keen to raise the prominence of the award with the children this poetry is published for. The shadowing scheme really allows for that; it’s always an absolute delight and privilege to see the joy on the winner’s faces as they take part in the award celebrations and being so excited to see the poets whose collections, verse novels or anthologies they’ve been engaged with.