National Poetry Day – Enjoy, Discover, Share
National Poetry Day is the annual mass celebration on the first Thursday of October that encourages all to enjoy, discover and share poetry. This year, National Poetry Day takes place on 7th October 2020, and the theme is Choice. They want you to explore why your students choose to read poetry, write poetry and be friends with poetry-lovers and are encouraging you to share your’s and student’s responses to completing the following sentence: “I choose poetry because…”
- They have curated a selection of permissions-cleared poems for you to share based on their theme, which they will be adding to in the lead up to National Poetry Day.
- Lesson plans for KS1-KS5 from the National Poetry Day website to get you started, including a toolkit full of ideas and inspirations.
- Posters for display.
Once children have written poems, share the best on National Poetry Day by tagging pictures on Instagram or Twitter (@PoetryDayUK) with #MyNPDPoem. Why not hold your own poetry show on National Poetry Day by inviting everyone to perform their poems aloud and streaming to other classrooms? Their Poetry Toolkit (from 2019) is full of practical suggestions for bookshops and book groups wanting to get more involved this year.
The National Poetry Day map is filling up; use it to check if there’s an event in your area, and while you’re on, add one of your own, great or small, to be in with a chance of winning THREE new poetry books from NPD’s recommended list, including the brand new Forward Book of Poetry – a compendium of the best new poems of the year.
ReadingZone Live hosts the wonderful Michaela Morgan; she writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry and regularly visits schools to perform and to run story writing or poetry workshops. Her book – Reaching the Stars written in collaboration with the poets Jan Dean and Liz Brownlee, is a collection of poems about extraordinary women some famous, some anonymous, some individual, some representative, some historic, some mythic.
In the videos below you can see a celebration of poetry and how to get started with writing poems – great to share on National Poetry Day during an assembly or in lessons. The first is a short trailer and the second video explores what is a poet, how do you start to write a poem and does it need to rhyme? Just some of the questions answered by Michaela Morgan during this event celebrating all things poetry, and National Poetry Day, with pupils from Cheam Common Junior Academy part of the LEO Academy Trust.
Head to ReadingZone Live to see all the videos from the event and use interviews with poets as a starting point when looking at writing poetry and the themes within them. Zaro Weil one of the poets featured in ReadingZone Live explains how she begins writing a poem:
ReadingZone Live also features the poet Roger Stevens who founded and runs the award-winning Poetry Zone website, which encourages children to write and publish their poetry and offers guidance and ideas for teachers on how to make the teaching of poetry fun and rewarding.
J2e Toolsuite can be used for children to use any of the j2write tools to write their own poem on the theme of ‘Choice‘ and why not use j2 vote to get the children to vote for their favourite poem?
Adobe Spark has some free “poem templates”. They say, whether you’re sharing a stanza from your favorite poet, or publishing your own original prose for the world to read, Adobe Spark will serve as your creative guide. Create captivating graphics that are just as beautiful as your poem. Explore poetry templates that you can customise to perfection. Then, resize as needed to share on any social platforms or printed format. It’s as easy as choosing a template, customizing, and sharing! If you haven’t claimed your school’s Adobe Creative Cloud licences, LGfL is offering free Adobe Creative Cloud Named User licences for schools (120 for secondary schools and 30 for primary and SEN schools) as part of their subscription.
Poetry Roundabout is the go-to place to find anything and everything about poetry for young people. Poems do not have to be written specifically for young people to be accessible to them; content is however always suitable. This is a place of fun poetry, interesting poetry, lyrical poetry, poems in all different forms and shapes and sizes! Visit for interviews with the best children’s poets, poetry news, how to write poems, poems of course, and poetry book reviews… and more besides! For teachers, young people’s poets, and poets who are young people!
Places of Poetry aims to use creative writing to prompt reflection on national and cultural identities in England and Wales, celebrating the diversity, heritage and personalities of place. You can visit the archive of writing collected in 2019 from all ages and backgrounds and the many perspectives on the places and histories of England and Wales. They have a range of toolkits still accessible for both primary and secondary schools on how to run poetry sessions within schools.
Visit The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) have launched the #WriteAcrossLondon Poetry Map – an interactive map of poems written by people who experienced lockdown in London. Submit yours here by 7 Oct 2021 @PoetryDayUK to represent your borough! N.B Poems may contain references that may not be suitable for every reader including sexual references, swear words or other sensitive material. Teacher/reader discretion is advised. All poems have been published as they were submitted.
Or why not use the resources from BBC Live Lessons (2018) led by award-winning performance poet, author and National Poetry Day ambassador Joseph Coelho, poet and author Tony Walsh, and CBBC’s Katie Thistleton, this lesson features poetry reading and performance and critical analysis of similes and metaphors. This is just one of many BBC Teach resources for both primary and secondary that can be used to bring poetry to life within the classroom, you can find the collection here.
Literacy Hive is a literacy resource signposting website designed to help teachers find resources to support the literacy curriculum quickly and easily. There are categories for Inspiring Writers and Poetry, as well as a calendar of events, literature festivals and competitions to help you plan your literacy year.
Finally, take a look at the National Poetry Day Ambassadors; inspiring poets who bring poetry to new and young audiences all year round (the website has contact links for if you are wishing to invite a one of the ambassadors in for a workshop or similar). Simon Mole (one of the Ambassadors) has created a video lesson that guides students through describing their dream day.