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Literacy - Rhyme is a good reason

The Poet Laureate wants every school lesson to begin with a poem.

Carol Ann Duffy told a literacy conference in Dundee this month that subjects such as maths, science and geography would benefit from a poetry reading.

"I think poetry should be at the heart of everything," she told a gathering made up largely of teachers and local authority staff.

There was an enthusiastic response to the idea, which followed an enthralling sequence of readings by the Poet Laureate.

She had gone back to some of her most popular poems, including "Valentine" and "Mrs Midas"; she also read "Last Post", written to mark the deaths of First World War veterans Henry Allingham and Harry Patch, and one of her first pieces since becoming Poet Laureate earlier this year.

One delegate said she had "stopped the bus" with her moving readings, allowing time for reflection amid the plethora of initiatives and talks that made up the rest of the day.

Fiona Norris, team leader for literacy and language at Learning and Teaching Scotland, commented afterwards that teachers of other subjects were already highly literate. "They already know everything they need to know about literacy - they just don't know that they know," she added. "So our task in developing literacy across learning is to activate that knowledge."

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