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Not even Allan Ahlberg could win them over...

PUBLISHED: 09:22 11 June 2018

Why do some children not 'get' poetry?

Why do some children not 'get' poetry?

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Why are some children impervious to poetry, asks Sharon Griffiths.

A famous writer was talking recently about the importance of reading poetry as well as bedtime stories to children. Even if they didn’t understand it, he said, it gave them a taste of magic, fired their imagination and inspired them for life.

If only…

I read poetry to my sons – Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats, The Night Mail and stirring Victorian poems such as Tennyson’s Revenge, among others.

Did it inspire them? Of course not.

From that day to this I’m not sure either of them has voluntarily even looked at a poem, let alone been inspired by one. So that was a waste of time.

Characters from story books, however, became part of the family. They recall fondly old favourites like Burglar Bill, Alfie, Thomas the Tank Engine and his many, many friends, even the supremely irritating Topsy and Tim, and read those now to their own children.

But poetry? Not a line. Not even Allan Ahlberg.

Still, I tried. And at least it got them to sleep.


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