The Poetry Trust says: Pupils who read and write poems become skilled in using language carefully, in playing with syntax and structure for the best effect; in weighing each word, attending to the smallest detail… They may gain an understanding of the way words can carry complex and subtle meanings …The language skills they gain will benefit them in all areas of the curriculum and beyond.
At Succeed, we believe that both writing and reading poetry is good for children. We recommend reading poetry with your child through their 11-plus preparation (and beyond) because, other than being enjoyable, it will help familiarise them with different types of poems that have been written through the ages and will help expand their vocabulary and develop analytical skills. A comprehension on a poem can be daunting (and hard) for a child who is not familiar with poetry and has not read or studied poetry before.
Here is a short list of classic poems that your child could read in their 11-plus preparations which hopefully they will enjoy, inspiring them to read more and to continue to read poetry beyond their exams. These poems can be read out loud at home and discussed with family members. Some tell a story, some are descriptive, but all are classics that have stood the test of time.
The Way through the Woods – Rudyard Kipling
A Smuggler’s Song – Rudyard Kipling
The Pied Piper of Hamlin – Robert Browning
The Listeners – Walter de la Mare
The Highwayman – Alfred Noyes
You are Old Father William – Lewis Carroll
The Scarecrow – Walter de la Mare
Something Told the Wild Geese – Rachel Field
Night Mail – W.H. Auden
From a Railway Carriage – Robert Louis Stevenson
Many of these poems can be found in The Puffin Book of Twentieth-Century Children’s Verse (Edited by Brian Patten).