Speak to us, William;Primary;Reviews;English;Books

12th June 1998 at 01:00
INTRODUCING WORDSWORTH: Classic Poems for Literacy Teaching at Key Stage 2. By Nancy Martin. pound;16, Wordsworth Trust, Dove Cottage, Grassmere, Cumbria LA22 9FH.

I once had a student teacher who kept her class of nine-year-olds enthralled for 40 minutes, detailing the story of the lovers in A Midsummer Night's Dream. I asked a dreamy-eyed child afterwards if she'd enjoyed it. "Yes," she said, "I love that kind of story." Later, her teacher commented: "Of course, it's the story of her parents and another child's in the class, swapping partners. Shakespeare speaks to each of us in our condition. And so does Wordsworth."

That's why I welcome Introducing Wordsworth, a novel key stage 2 teaching pack from the Wordsworth Trust. It consists of a wallet of copiable sheets of poems, drafts, bits of Dorothy's journals, letters, maps, teacher's notes, and so on. It may have been done differently, but the great thing is that it has been done, and done well. This is user-friendly encouragement to take classics into the primary classroom.

Some of the suggested activities are imaginative, some less so - but always a provocation for one's own ideas. The poems are well chosen - boyhood bits from "The Prelude" and lyrical ballads about children and poverty. Even "The Daffodils" is revitalised, looked at in relation to Dorothy's journal and an early draft. Who knows, the story of Wordsworth and Annette Vallon, that capable single mother, might speak to someone's condition.

Nicholas Bielby is a writer and poet.

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