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Heard it in the Playground

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The poems are very comical and each child should be able to relate the topics to their own school experiences. The excellent use of rhythm and rhyme mean this book would be a great introduction to poetry in year 4 and upwards classrooms. Forgotten the title or the author of a book? Our BookSleuth is specially designed for you. Visit BookSleuth

Verse is often overlooked when identifying books for young readers, but it can provide an amazing opportunity for confident and middle ability readers to develop their understanding of different genres. For strugglers, poetry can be less daunting than a novel or even a short story and can also more easily capture children's emotions and reflect them in a more accessible and concise way. I think that this book could be used in a variety of different ways within a classroom to familiarise children with poetry. The strong rhythm and rhymes within this collection combined with the comical use of nonsense words make the poems perfect for performance. This will allow the children the opportunity to focus on the rhythm, rhyme, language and tone of poetry. However, the different aspects of language can also be explored with the class following a dramatic reading by the class teacher. Listening to the poem being read expressively will allow the children to detect patterns and get a real feel for rhythm and rhyme. I really like the humorous approach as I think it makes the poems very relatable to children who will be able to compare themes within the poems to their own school day.The songs in the book have particular tunes with one exception. The song 'The Mrs Butler Blues'' can be sing to the tune of any blues song. What a fantastic way of exploring blues music and the differences in tempo, pitch and rhythm. It also explores the approach behind lyric writing. This volume of poetry are based on Alan Ahlberg’s experiences as a teacher. They’re highly accessible in terms of structure, and the subject matter is familiar to anyone who has ever set foot in a primary school. Ahlberg’s voice is clear and strong, regardless of whether he’s describing the frustrations of a stressed out teacher in charge of thirty 7 year olds, a longest kiss contest taking place in the cloakroom or the delight and sheer chaos of a dog in the playground. Ahlberg wrote his first book when he was thirty-seven, after a decade of teaching - a profession that he maintains is "much harder" than being a writer. He says that if he hadn't become a writer, he would have loved to be a soccer player. He was married for many years to fellow children's author Janet Ahlberg, with whom he often worked. Their daughter, Jessica Ahlberg, is also a children's author.

Allan always dreamed of being a writer, but tried his hand at many other jobs before he achieved his ambition. He was a postman, grave-digger, plumber's mate and teacher - it was teaching that gave him such sharp insights into the minds of children, and enabled him to write his perfectly observed poetry about primary school lifeA great poem also is Heard it in the Playground. This poem, Ahlberg states, is for performance. It has repetition, rhyme, different sounds, nonsense words and changing dynamics which would be great to perform with a class. It would be an enjoyable and unforgettable experience. Allan has collaborated with many illustrators, including Andre Amstutz, Gillian Tyler and Katharine McEwen, as well as his late wife, Janet Ahlberg (nee Hall) and his daughter Jessica Ahlberg. He has won numerous awards for his books including, the Kurt Maschler Award in 1986, The Children's Book Award in 1987, the Blue Peter Book Award 2001, and The Children's Book Award: Books for Young Children award 2002. Heard it in the playground is a wonderful collection of poems, based on the setting of a primary school. The book is divided into sections of short, medium and long poems, which means it could adapted to many classes and also to the school day and time constraints. I feel this could make a great group read at the beginning or end of the school day as the short poems could be easily used.

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