What do children and young people think about poetry? It makes them happy. At least, that was the finding from a large scale UK study released late last year undertaken to support the UK's National Poetry Day in October.
Susannah Herbert of the Forward Arts Foundation, the charity that organises National Poetry Day, said: “We’ve all long known that the benefits of education and culture aren’t evenly spread: this makes poetry’s appeal to disadvantaged young people, or its ‘silver bullet’ potential, all the more important. Children on free school meals, with limited English, attention disorders or no one to hear them read at home may not thrive in tests or sit still in class, but when offered the chance to perform, listen or watch poetry, they respond.”
Nearly half the children and young people survey engaged with poetry in their free time, either reading, writing or performing it.
Children from low socio-economic families were most likely to engage with poetry than their better-off peers.
While the majority of children and young people read poems on paper, digital formats were making inroads: a third said they read poetry online or on a phone, a similar proportion watched it as a video and almost a fifth listened to spoken recordings or soundtracks.
Children and young people who wrote or performed poetry said that it made them feel creative, was a great way to express themselves and their feelings and that it gave them a chance to create something special out of words.
It seems poetry is alive and well for our children and young people.