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Blog Empowering Educators: Building Confidence in Teaching Poetry

Empowering Educators: Building Confidence in Teaching Poetry

By Young Writers Admin | Poetry, Recommended Reads, Teachers, Top Tips

Empowering Educators: Building Confidence in Teaching Poetry

We've created a collection of resources and tips that you can adapt to suit your unique classroom environment to help you when it comes to teaching poetry.

There's no one-size-fits-all approach to teaching poetry. What’s effective will vary from teacher to teacher, class to class. It's about finding what works best for your students.

Get Reading
These are just a few examples of books that offer a wealth of knowledge and practical strategies for teaching poetry.

What Is Poetry? by Michael Rosen serves as a thought-provoking exploration of the very essence of poetry, making it an excellent starting point.
How to Write Poems by Joseph Coelho provides accessible and engaging exercises that inspire creativity.
Teaching Poetry in the Primary Classroom by Gervase Phinn offers specific guidance tailored for younger learners.
Making Poetry Happen by Sue Dymoke delves into the art of teaching poetry effectively.
Poetry Read, Write & Perform by Paul Cookson is an invaluable resource for hands-on activities and performance tips.
Jumpstart Poetry by Pie Corbett offers a collection of practical ideas to ignite a passion for poetry in the classroom.

Online Resources

Kenn Nesbitt’s Poetry4Kids is a treasure trove of kid-friendly poems, writing tips, and interactive activities. It's an invaluable resource for both teachers and students alike.

The National Literacy Trust has a wealth of resources connected to National Poetry Day, held every October. 

The Poetry Society offers teaching resources, lesson plans, and workshops for teachers looking to inspire their students through poetry.

The Poetry Archive offers a wide range of recordings of poets reading their own work, as well as lesson plans and activities.

Poetry by Heart aims to inspire young people to learn and recite poetry.

Young Writers! Don’t forget us! We create a host of FREE resources with every competition, available to download from our website:

Bring Poems To Life

  • Create a Poetry Wall: Designate a space where students can share their favourite poems or even their own creations. Sharing in this way can create a sense of belonging and encourages a love for poetry.
  • Hold a Poetry Slam: Organise a friendly competition where students can recite their favourite poems or perform their own poems. It's a dynamic way to showcase their creativity and build confidence in public speaking.
  • Poetry Walks: Take your class outdoors for a poetry walk. Encourage them to observe the world around them and jot down poetic observations. This exercise helps them find inspiration in everyday life.
  • Poetry Journals: Encourage students to keep personal poetry journals where they can jot down their thoughts, emotions, and ideas. They can use this for inspiration when it comes to writing their own poems.
  • Poetry and Art Collaboration: Combine art and poetry for a cross-curricular project. Students can create visual representations inspired by their favourite poems or use art to enhance their own verses.
  • Interactive Poetry Stations: Set up stations around the classroom with different poetry-related activities. These could include magnetic poetry, blackout poetry, or even a station for collaborative group poems.
  • Enter Competitions: Giving students a purpose to write can really inspire them. Enter our poetry competitions so they have the chance to see their work published in a real book, as well as the chance to win a prize. See which ones are open here.

Poets In Person

If time (and of course the ruler of us all: budget) allows, inviting a poet to visit your school to run a poetry workshop is guaranteed to engage your pupils; a new face at the front of the classroom is always exciting! The skills they teach your students can be used across the curriculum, as they will learn about planning, structure, audience, different styles and aims of writing.

Some also offer CPD so you can learn the art of teaching poetry. Here are just a few of the many poets offering school visits:

Mark Grist
Paul Cookson
Mandy Coe
Matt Goodfellow
James Carter 
Joshua Seigal 

The Poetry Society works to place poets in schools, and filling in their enquiry form can help you find a poet who suits your needs.

Go Beyond The Page

When teaching poetry, don't limit example poems to text on paper. Explore the world of spoken word performances available on platforms like YouTube. Hearing the rhythm and emotion behind the words can help students connect with the meanings and intentions behind the poems.

Steve Attewell is a poet who writes funny poems for kids. 

BBC Teach has poetry videos for a range of ages, including performances of well-known poems and guides on how to write and perform poetry.

Michael Rosen reads his poems aloud, bringing them to life from the page. 

Horrible Histories often use poems and songs to teach kids about history, so it’s a great way to show the different ways poetry can be used, with the bonus of links with your history topic! 

Voices in Power is an arts and community organisation in the US who host monthly poetry open mic nights. Suitable for older students. 

Button Poetry is dedicated to sharing and promoting performance poetry.

Youth Speaks is a leading presenter of spoken word arts and education in the US.

(Please note we haven’t watched every poetry video on these channels, so please watch any videos before sharing them to make sure they’re suitable for your class.)

Join National Celebrations

National Poetry Day: This event, held on 5th October this year, is an excellent opportunity to dive into poetry-related activities. The official website provides a wealth of resources and inspiration. The theme for this year is 'Refuge'.


Teaching poetry is about nurturing a love for language and self-expression. With the right tools and a touch of creativity, you'll be guiding your students towards a deeper appreciation for the beauty of words. Happy teaching, we hope to read your students’ poems soon!

Published: Fri 15th Sep 2023

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