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Verse Novels Add Verve To Reading


I recently had the pleasure of listening to Sally Murphy talk at the ALEA (Australian Literacy Educators Association) National Conference in Adelaide about verse novels. During what was an unfortunately brief presentation, Sally spoke of her passion for both writing and reading this increasingly popular genre.

My growing list of verse novels

So, what is a verse novel?

·   A narrative told in verse

Verse novels are usually written in free verse, rather than rhyme

    They deal with diverse subject matter

They make use of line length variation

   They use white space to create emphasis and draw out words

   They use a range of poetic techniques

They vary in length

They employ rhythm

Frequently they appeal to inexperienced readers, particularly inexperienced boy readers

They also appeal to confident readers

They explore issues

They are accessible

The style of the writing creates an intimacy between narrator and reader

    Verse novels are part of the National Curriculum (Australia) making them a most relevant form of reading for students and teachers alike

‘Poetry should be positioned as part of everyday life.’ 

Sally Murphy


  1. Yes to more verse novels! How lovely that you were able to see Sally present, too.

  2. Wonderful to have another Aussie in the Poetry Friday link-up, Allan. I missed the last two weeks - but I see (now) this isn't the first time you've joined. Good on your for jumping on board. And YAY for verse novel love! Thank-you for sharing your titles - and including mine in your suitcase. :)

  3. I love books in verse and am planning on having a Books in Verse basket in my new 4th grade classroom! I can't wait and I'm already stocking up--just picked up Sharon Creech's "heartbeat" yesterday. Thanks for adding some titles to my list.

  4. Joining those who love seeing love for verse novels. Yay!

  5. I am a fan of verse novels. Thanks for the image because some of these are new to me.

  6. Oh wow! Thanks for the mention and for loving verse novels as much as I do.

  7. A lot of my students are starting to enjoy these - they are generally a quick read. Thanks for sharing this!

  8. Just getting started with this genre, Alan, and loving it. Thanks for sharing and for Sally's Quote: "Poetry should be positioned as part of everyday life."

  9. I wish I could have gone to that session! I have a whole shelf of verse novels in my classroom!


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