Poetry and Public Speaking

Eaton House boys regularly read aloud to an audience and, of course, that reading aloud includes poetry.

Declaiming poetry aloud and engaging in public speaking require many of the same skills – engaging the audience, weighing each word carefully, knowing when to pause and when to raise your voice for emphasis, and how to make the words full of emotion.

Many children enjoy reciting poetry aloud from poets such as Lewis Carroll, Edward Lear, AA Milne, Robert Louis Stevenson, Edgar Guest and Mary Howitt. Poetry is all around us and it is important to teach children to watch out for the rhythms of life, as they can be converted into great poetry.


If boys are introduced to the right poem, it can be magical and can really help in developing imagination and reading development. Poetry is important for introducing us to new words, the construction of language and just the feeling that goes along with reading a poem that tells a powerful story.

Poetry introduces young children to themes and is a good way of accessing a large volume of writing styles and expressions quite quickly, unlike novels. What is also wonderful about poetry for boys is that they love the idea of rhythm and rhyme as it is a very active part of learning.

Poetry, especially spoken poetry, also allows you to experience different emotions – happiness, excitement and even sometimes slightly scary feelings. The ability to 'feel' poetry is something that we work on with the boys and it is an important part of the process.

Poems can be simple or complex, traditional or modern, but it is important to us that Eaton House boys see it as an everyday part of their life, rather than as something special, and they will come to like it. That is the ultimate aim in all our work in this area – to cultivate a love of poetry for life.


Debating is an important part of life at Eaton House Belgravia and we have debating competitions and a debating club for those boys that really want to explore the subject further.

A debate is a structured argument. Two sides speak alternately for and against a particular contention, usually based on a topical issue. Each person is allocated a time they are allowed to speak for and any interjections are carefully controlled.

Differing views are welcomed. What is really important is to rehearse your argument well and to speak in a structured, confident and logical way, with an enthralling introduction and a persuasive conclusion. This is the art of debate and we enjoy teaching it to the boys in Eaton House Belgravia Prep.