Key Stage 1

Here is a list of poems and books I recommend for use in Key Stage 1 lessons.

Bballoon yesalloon Lagoon and the Magic Islands of Poetry is by Adrian Mitchell (Orchard). This is a varied collection of poems beautifully illustrated by Tony Ross. Readers are invited to get themselves lost in “exotic islands of magical verse”. There is a pleasant tribute at the beginning to all the writers who charmed Adrian Mitchell as a child, and I particularly like the statement at the beginning that none of the poems is to be used in an exam! But Mitchell does encourage people to read the poems aloud, sing them, dance them or act them. Why not give them a try? Clearly the poems here are to be read out to children or shared together. Some Year 2 children may be able to cope with reading them out, but plenty of work would have to be done in turning that into a performance.

First Verses for the Very Young are chosen by John Foster and illustrated by Carfirstol Thompson (Oxford). There are a range of animal and playtime rhymes by poets such as John Agard and Judith Nicholls. There are also food rhymes and bedtime rhymes. Wes Magee and John Foster himself are among the contributors. The poems include some super wordplay and general word madness. They lend themselves to dramatic and fun performance and there is plenty of repetition to allow children to become familiar with the rhymes, and get involved in their performance. Why not try one a day at home time? Or choose the same one several days running so children know it word for word and can perform it themselves?

Other suggested poems for Key Stage 1

Don’t Call Alligator Long-Mouth till You crossed River by John Agard. – Playful and fun language which will appeal to Reception and Key Stage 1. Plenty of scope for performance and silly voices!

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