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In which I champion the value of Poetry Memorization!

I’ve always championed the value of memorization to enhance learning and development. And… poetry is my favorite genre! So I knew we’d love doing this review of poetry memorization with Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing.

When I imagine my ideal homeschool environment… it is a space filled with light and rhythm, discussion and performance, creation and color! Poetry memorization fits all those ideals to me! Verse can be light-hearted, full of rhythm, its performance (or recitation) leads to discussion, and it promotes language skills that aid in creating colorful writing (and artwork!).

Poetry Memorization

The value of poetry memorization

Poetry Memorization

Memorization as a learning technique has fallen out of favor these past decades. Some see it as “rote” and boring, or a thwart to creativity. To the contrary, memorization:

a) happens instinctively (how do you think babies learn their first words? They aren’t googling them!)

b) can be infused with excitement (ever heard a kid singing a favorite song? ad infinitum?)

c) builds a child’s language acquisition (allowing for greater creativity – you can’t create without some base materials!)

d) is incredibly practical (ever tried to call someone from another phone when your smartphone battery dies? Dontcha wish you’d memorized their number!?)

e) gets easier the more you “exercise” it (like any muscle, memory needs to be used).

f) can be done anywhere with very little prep or materials (enough said). 

Poetry is easier to memorize than prose because its patterns and rhythms, short lines and stanzas make it easy to remember.

I could go on allll day about the value of poetry memorization but… Andrew Pudewa, author of Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization devotes about 15 pages of compelling rationale for poetry memorization in the Teacher Guide! His points range from cultural connections to communication skills, and this section is well worth the read.

Using Poetry Memorization at home

Poetry Memorization

The Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization set Pudewa developed is so simple and easy to follow. The kit includes:

Teacher Guide – 

  • outlines the rationale for poetry memorization and how to use the program
  • printed version of each memorization selection
  • checklists for memorization rotation (students memorize one poem, then move to another while maintaining memory of the first, and so on).
  • lesson enhancements (cross curricular activity suggestions)
  • author bios
  • directions to download the Student eBook PDF – the student book contains one poem per page plus a line art drawing for coloring while listening. For parents of multiple kids, IEW has generous student photocopy policy – copy student materials for all children in your family.
  • directions to download Audio MP3s – additional teacher resources for you!

5 CD set Plus DVD –

  • 96 poems and speeches for memorization – each of the 5 levels have 19 selections with a slot for a personal choice poem or speech to engage student-led learning.
  • DVD includes Andrew Pudewa’s seminars on Nurturing Competent Communicators

At just $65, this set will carry you through multiple years with multiple students, so it’s a great value for the homeschooling family.

**I also received the physical version of the Student Book, which is NOT included in the main set, and is an additional charge. The boys like to look at the pictures, but only one is reading so we rely on the CDs mostly. I will appreciate this resource in coming years.

How we included poetry memorization at home

Poetry Memorization

We started out simply listening to CD 1 at the breakfast table. Within days my boys were reciting “Ooey Gooey” and “The Man Who Wasn’t There” just for the pure joy of it! I never even told them we were starting a poetry memorization program! I just plugged it in over breakfast. You see how naturally kids just want to memorize?

Honestly, from the first listening, they were hooked! After a few days, we began saying them together without the CD before I’d start the listening time anew each day. I’m just keeping things light for this year, and the boys haven’t even noticed that I’ve included a new subject into our days! I, personally, have enjoyed getting some memory in for myself!

I follow the chart in the teacher book, but haven’t introduced the kids to this checklist. Next year I’ll make them their own checklist to keep at their learning stations to track their progress. I figure tiny stickers will be great rewards!

It has been incredibly easy to include poetry memorization into our homeschooling, because we do it on the fly. Mostly over breakfast, but other places too, like the car. If we’re on a walk, I’ll call out the poem title and the boys will start chanting! When we saw a worm on the ground, I said “Ooey Gooey!”… and away they went!

We have only explored Level One for now, since it’s the most appropriate for my children’s ages (6 and 3). But I can’t wait to add on to our poetry memorization as the years go by, and include more of the lesson enhancements as well.

I truly believe in the value of poetry memorization to provide my boys with sophisticated vocabulary and language patterns, fluency with language, and open doors for discussion and expression.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization has been cleanly and simply developed to dovetail right into your homeschooling, and can be used over multiple ages for years of enjoyment and growth! For the simplicity of the program, I’m so impressed at how the quality and impact of the resources profoundly impacted my thought process on memorization (even as a pro-memory work person!).

What are your thoughts on memorization? How about poetry memorization!? Have you tried it yet!?

For more about poetry, check out my past blog series:

Poetry Memorization

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization IEW Review
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