National year of reading focus falls on rhythm and rhyme

PUBLISHED: 12:31 17 July 2008 | UPDATED: 15:14 07 September 2010

Lesley Agnew from the Children s Bookshop in Muswell Hill looks at poetry for children THIS is the National Year of Reading. It s intended to celebrate all kinds of reading and to increase awareness of the power, value and pleasure of reading - for child

Lesley Agnew from the Children's Bookshop in Muswell Hill looks at poetry for children

THIS is the National Year of Reading. It's intended to celebrate all kinds of reading and to increase awareness of the power, value and pleasure of reading - for children and for adults. Every month, there's a special theme. At the Children's Bookshop, we won't be doing window displays for the National Year of Reading every month as we have to keep some space and energy for author events and special awards. But we're all very enthusiastic about this month's theme - rhythm and rhyme.

Every member of our staff has chosen a favourite poetry book for the window. Choices range from the classic I Saw Esau, Iona Opie's seminal gathering of playground humour and playground rhymes chanted by children over generations, to the sumptuous Oxford Book of Children's Poetry, bursting with treasures from poets old and new.

Michael Rosen's Mustard, Custard, Grumble Belly and Gravy comes with a CD read by Children's Laureate Michael himself and is guaranteed to keep a carload amused for any journey. Jackie Kay's Red, Cherry Red is full of poems with great changes of mood and comes with a very pleasing CD. The CD is delightfully read by Jackie in a strong Glaswegian accent - and the book itself has just won the CLPE Poetry Award.

Previous winners of this award include Roger McGough and John Agard. It's given annually for a poetry book for children published during the preceding year.

Lots of books with rhythm and rhyme will definitely feature strongly in our story time sessions at the Children's Bookshop. Aimed at younger children - say six and under - these will be taking place in the shop every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 11am, starting on July 22 and running throughout August.

Smaller children respond instinctively to rhythm and rhyme. They love joining in. There will be old favourites like Mr Magnolia and The Gruffalo alongside newer ones (still to be decided on!) As I say, these sessions are for ages six and under and the shop is small. So if you want to bring a busload, please call us first!

And - as the National Year of Reading website says - everything STARTS with reading. It's so important. We at the Children's Bookshop love to see children starting on their reading journey.

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