Once a Little Bird Told Me

I have been teaching creative writing to a child called Carina, aged 7, for about a year and a half now. Even writing that sentence gives me pause for thought, because can creative writing actually be taught? Well, I prefer to think of it as enabling, empowering and encouraging, but obviously this doesn’t roll off the tongue in quite the same way when I describe the work I’m doing with my students.

The way I normally work with them is to create a variety of writing activities for them and sit on the sidelines and wait patiently to notice where their interests lie and what lights a spark for them. I started to notice that Carina had a gift for poetry writing so we focussed on that above all else, drawing inspiration from as wide ranging sources as Sei Shōnagon’s 11th Century list poems from The Pillow Book to more contemporary verse and it didn’t take long until she was writing poems outside of the lessons.

With Carina’s permission, I am sharing one of her illustrated poems below that she wrote on her own this week, completely unprompted by me. It really made my heart sing when she showed me this in one of our lessons.

By Carina, aged 7

Anyone else really impressed by this for a seven year old?

If we prepare the ground and sow the seeds, it’s amazing what can grow 🌱 💫

Rebecca Stonehill

Thank for reading this. To compliment this blog post, read Poems of a Teenage Girl; Sci-Fi Writing for Kids & some general ideas on using poetry to engage and motivate children.

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