Teaching Poetry for Pleasure and Purpose

by Sally Murphy

Chapter 8 - Poetry in Year 6


By their final year of primary school, students will hopefully have had a wealth of poetry experiences. The goal in Year 6 is to keep poetry experiences pleasurable and relevant, andset students up to be lifelong poets and readers of poetry. When they encounter poetry in high school and beyond, these earlier experiences will mean that poetry is a familiar friend rather than an obstacle to overcome.

Poetry of different forms, topics and lengths should be used across the literacy program, and beyond. Complement collections with picture-book-length interpretations of classic poems, and multimedia forms such as Insta poetry and rap poets, many of whom have online channels. The ‘poetry ponderance’ (page 68), introduced in chapter 7, is an exercise that can be repeated across this year to increase poetry knowledge. Australia has some outstanding verse novelists, and recent offerings from Sally Morgan and Kirli Saunders offer excellent First Nations’ perspectives, alongside the works of Steven Herrick, Lorraine Marwood and others. Because their works are narratives texts as well as poetry, they can address multiple curriculum outcomes, exploring fiction, poetry and cross-curriculum topics too. As the texts are relatively short, they are excellent for class novel study.

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