Primary-school teachers across the country are constantly thinking of new ways to encourage a love of reading and writing within their pupils. Oasis Academy Hobmoor in Birmingham recently enjoyed a visit from a special guest who used their talent with words to spark the interest of their Year 4 class.
Serena Arthur, Young Poet Laureate for Birmingham in both 2014-15 and 2015-16, gave an inspirational workshop on the power of poetry as well as performing some of her pieces for the children.
Working alongside ITV project Fixers, a scheme that enables young people to use their personal experience to make positive change for themselves and those around them, Serena is raising awareness of child literacy rates and the role that poetry can play in improving them.
Serena talked with the children about her love of language, and explaining about how poetry or writing is capable of making the audience feel powerful emotion. Above all that reading and writing is fun!
“I have loved words ever since I was little, delving into novels like they were new worlds to explore, so it wasn’t long before I began to use words to explore my own world … through poetry,” says Serena.
“Many young people these days see the word ‘poetry’ and think of boredom, remembering poetry that they disliked at school; they do not realise that poetry is freedom, imagination - it doesn’t even have to have any particular structure, it is whatever you want it to be.”
“I hope that by sharing my poetry, I can inspire others to start reading and writing themselves and become the next generation of British poets.”
Commenting on Serena work with the children, Principal of Oasis Academy Hobmoor Paul Tarry says: “We are so grateful to Serena for coming to meet with our children this afternoon. Her love of poetry and words was so inspiring, and her talent so clear.”
“To have someone so young from our local community speak with such passion about reading and writing and the power of verse, made an immediate and obvious impact on our pupils. Our teachers and staff dedicate time each day to encourage a love of literacy, and what Serena said reinforced so many of those messages.”
Recording of Serena’s workshop is to be broadcast on ITV Central, due to air on the 6pm news on May 4th.