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A thing that makes me happy: Children, young people and poetry in 2018

Added 04 Oct 2018

To support National Poetry Day on 4 October 2018, we were commissioned to conduct the first ever national survey of children and young people’s views on poetry in England.

2,948 eight to 18-year-olds from 27 schools in England took part in our online survey, which ran from May to July 2018.

We found that:

  • Almost 1 in 2 (46.1%) children and young people engage with poetry in their free time: this means they consume it (read, listen to or watch; 25.4%), create it (write or perform; 10.4%) or do both (10.3%)
  • Children on free school meals are more likely to engage with poetry in their free time than their better-off peers (55.7% vs 43.0%). They are also more likely to enter poetry competitions and slams
  • Children recognise poetry in its many different forms: most children and young people say that poetry can be found in books (87.6%), while they also said you can listen to it (78.2%), find it online (74.4%) and watch it (61.6%)
  • While the majority of children and young people read poems on paper (59.6%), digital formats are making inroads: a third (32.6%) say they read poetry online or on a phone, a similar proportion watch it as a video (31.7%) and almost a fifth listen to spoken recordings or soundtracks (18.6%)
  • Children and young people who write or perform poetry say that it makes them feel creative (76%), it is a great way to express themselves and their feelings (66.7%) and that it gives them a chance to create something special out of words (57.8%)
  • Poets were most often described as someone who is creative, followed by funny, imaginative and intelligent
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