Watching the words: drama and poems
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Some poems are inherently dramatic due to their narrative content or the events, characters, places and emotions that are their subject. Others have the potential for dramatisation because of some aural or visual quality of their poetic form. However, if dramatising poems is to be meaningful and effective children need to be taught something about the art form of drama rather than just being left to their own devices. This chapter explores the learning potential of considering the printed text of a poem as a notation of sound, movement, gesture and use of space. The chapter recognises a progression from simple nursery rhymes to the sophisticated use of poetic language in different types of literature that is mirrored in the journey from infants’ clapping games to the dramatic juxtaposition of aural and visual images in theatre and the performing arts.