65 poems for primary school children to learn by heart

A national poetry recital competition has launched a set of interactive resources for primary school children and their teachers.

The organisers of the Poetry By Heart competition, aimed at 14- to 18-year-olds, has published a set of 65 poems to support the teaching of poetry to younger children.

The poems have been chosen by Morag Styles, retired professor of children’s poetry at the University of Cambridge and trustee of the Poetry Archive. Each one is accompanied by a suggested activity.

The site also offers children the chance to hear recordings of some of the poems and to record their own versions.

The grand final of the competion, which is now in its fourth year, will be held in March 2016 for students in secondary schools and colleges.

Julie Blake, co-director of Poetry By Heart, said: “In the last couple of years many teachers have asked us if we could develop some resources for younger children and we are delighted to have done that now.

“The Poetry By Heart resource for primary school children is designed to help pupils and teachers find poems they love, and enjoy them together through reading aloud and learning them by heart. It encourages playful discovery and serious fun.”

Here are the poems selected:

  1. Miss Lucy Had a Baby by Anon
  2. The North Wind Doth Blow by Anon
  3. Mosquito one by Anon
  4. The Tyger by William Blake
  5. Extract from The Pied Piper by William Browning
  6. The Sleepy Giant by Charles E Carryl
  7. The Mock Turtle’s Song by Lewis Carroll
  8. Little Trotty Wagtail by John Clare
  9. The Witch by Mary Elizabeth Coleridge
  10. Answer to a Child’s Question by Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  11. The Months of the Year by Sara Coleridge
  12. A Bird Came Down the Walk by Emily Dickenson
  13. Extract from The Peacock at Home by Catherine Ann Dorset
  14. Wynken, Blynken and Nod by Eugene Field
  15. Casabianca by Felicia Hemans
  16. The Spider and the Fly by Mary Howitt
  17. There Was a Naughty Boy by John Keats
  18. The Way Through the Woods by Rudyard Kipling
  19. The Quangle Wangle’s Hat by Edward Lear
  20. Hiawatha: Fishing by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
  21. Child’s Song in Spring by Edith Nesbit
  22. Eletelephony by Laura Richards
  23. What is Pink? by Christina Rossetti
  24. Ye spotted snakes by William Shakespeare
  25. My Cat Jeffrey by Christopher Smart
  26. The Cataract of Lodore by Robert Southey
  27. Escape at Bedtime by Robert Louis Stevenson
  28. The Owl by Alfred Tennyson
  29. Written in March by William Wordsworth
  30. The Song of Wandering Aengus by WB Yeats
  31. Tarantella by Hilaire Belloc
  32. Tell me, tell me, Sarah Jane by Charles Causley
  33. On a Night of Snow by Elizabeth Coatsworth
  34. Some One by Walter de la Mare
  35. It Was Long Ago by Eleanor Farjeon
  36. The Door by Miroslav Holub
  37. Song For a Banjo Dance by Langston Hughes
  38. Spell of the Air by Elizabeth Jennings
  39. Cargoes by John Masefield
  40. Jamaica Market by Agnes Maxwell-Hall
  41. Nothingmas Day by Adrian Mitchell
  42. Hyena by Edwin Morgan
  43. The People Upstairs by Ogden Nash
  44. The Ceremonial Band by James Reeves
  45. Sick by Shel Silverstein
  46. Fisherman Chant by John Agard
  47. Isn’t My Name Magical by James Berry
  48. Granny Is by Valerie Bloom
  49. Pirate Pete by James Carter
  50. Extinct by Mandy Coe
  51. How to Cut a Pomegranate by Imtiaz Dharker
  52. If You Were a Carrot by Berlie Doherty
  53. Time Transfixed by Carol Ann Duffy
  54. House of Air by Philip Gross
  55. Please Do Not Feed the Animals by Robert Hull
  56. Double Trouble by Jackie Kay
  57. Cinema Poem by Roger McGough
  58. Lone Dog by Irene McLeod
  59. Instructions for Growing Poetry by Tony Mitton
  60. Lament of an Arawak Child by Pamela Mordecai
  61. Wha Me Mudder Do by Grace Nichols
  62. Rules by Brian Patten
  63. The Language of Cat by Rachel Rooney
  64. My Dad, Your Dad by Kit Wright
  65. Vegan Delight by Benjamin Zephaniah

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