‘Schools, liberate yourselves’

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By Charlotte Ronalds — _Deputy Editor, _Child Education PLUS

Michael Rosen has been appointed the new children’s laureate. He talks to Charlotte Ronalds about poetry, phonics and why teachers should reclaim the classroom

Michael Rosen

Michael Rosen being interviewed

Michael Rosen looks thoroughly fed up. He is bent over, wheezing and trying to dismiss an imaginary microphone. He has just suffered a shock defeat in a race at the hands of a tortoise and doesn’t want to talk about it. In an instant his posture changes; he leans back in his chair, starts chewing and casually says he knew the hare was all talk. Suddenly, his body snaps into another position. He hunches up, cups his hands around his mouth and, à la David Coleman, launches into a race commentary. It is, quite honestly, amazing to witness.

Rosen, who was inaugurated as the fifth children’s laureate last month, is using Aesop’s fable to demonstrate just one of the ways to get children enthused about literature. This is something he plans to focus on a lot in his laureateship over the next two years. His mission, he says, is to put the excitement back into reading and to encourage teachers to ‘liberate themselves from the vice-like grip of the Literacy Strategy’. So, not a big ambition then?

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