Poetry in the Primary Classroom Blog: Rhythm and Poetry

Workshop 3: Learning rhythm and poetry

We believe there’s a rhythm and poetry to life – which is why we at the Royal African Society were so excited for the third workshop in the Poetry in the Primary Classroom programme to take place. As always, it was put together and hosted by our incredible partners at the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education. And the second half of the workshop saw esteemed rapper and poet Karl Nova take over the mic (and Zoom) to help our primary school teachers discover their inner MCs!

During the first part of the April workshop, CLPE took our teachers through a session focusing on the power of traditional storytelling, with examples from children’s authors across the African diaspora. The value of oral storytelling was also introduced to workshop attendees, which led perfectly into Karl’s session about the power of rap. He explained some of the misconceptions around it and how it can be used as a literacy tool for children of all ages, especially when introducing them to poetry for the first time.

With the help of Karl, our teachers took on the challenge of creating their own rhyming poems to a beat. This was important in informing their lessons by using rhyming structures that could be easily replicated by their students.

Once again poetry was used as a way for teachers to express themselves and learn how to facilitate that same opportunity for their pupils. As Karl put it himself:

“Poetry makes us all human beings.”

This was an exhilarating session that has brought us to the halfway point in the Poetry in the Primary Classroom programme, so stay tuned for what’s coming next! And read our previous blogs from January and March.


“Got me reflecting the times in my poems

How can I not reflect

also seek to affect

the times that I’m living in so

When I flow from my soul yes I know

my art is a mirror look what it shows

what you see is what you get

that which you project

is your interpretation whoa!”

– Don’t Stop by Karl Nova


Olivia Danso

Education Programme Manager

11 May 2021

Image caption: Africa Writes Young Voices showcase, 2019. Image by Ivan Gonzalez