Monday, May 16, 2016


Poetry memorization is an integral part of our home education. I was overjoyed at the opportunity to review Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization from Institute For Excellence In Writing

The 5 levels in this curriculum expose students to 76 classic poems and 20 speeches. Included in the set you will find:
  • Student e-book
  • Teacher's Manual
  • CD's of Poems and Speeches, one disk for each of the 5 levels
  • e-book download which includes instructions, charts, certificates, biographies, student book
  • 7 Audio MP3's
  • DVD, Nurturing Competent Communicators 
Teacher's Manual
The manual starts with a wonderful introduction which includes topics such as:
  • Prerequisites for Effective Communication
  • Why Memorization
  • Why Poetry
  • Mastery Learning - What is it?
  • How to Teach the Program
Regardless of age it is highly recommended that any student, regardless of age, begin with Level 1. Each level increases in the level of difficulty. What is unique about this program is that it accommodates students of all ages. For the younger student who may not be able to read yet the audio CD's provide needed repetition that the younger student needs in order to memorize the selections. The program enables the student to work at his/her own pace. Some students may take years to complete the program while others may take a shorter amount of time to complete to program. 

In the first level it is recommended that they child recite all poems memorized on a daily basis. As the levels progress and the poems become longer, poems memorized are recited on a rotating basis so that the student retains memorized selections. There is a chart included to help the student keep up the recitation schedule. 

The appendix includes Biographies, a Bibliography, and Optional Lesson Enhancements

Student Workbook (IEW graciously sent me a physical copy of this book)
The first four levels of the program involve poetry memorization. The fifth level challenges the student's memorization skills learned in the first four levels by moving onto famous speeches throughout history. 

Ooey Gooey ~ Author Unknown

My 2nd grader had fun making up her own Ooey Gooey poems. 

Ooey Gooey was a fly,
A pesky fly was he.
He flew upon my window pane,
My swatter he did not see!
Ooooey Goooey! 

Ooey Gooey was a bee,
A buzzing bee was he.
He buzzed into the spinning fun,
The blades he did not see!
Ooooey Goooey!

Celery by Ogden Nash

After memorizing the poem, Celery, by Ogden Nash, my daughter and I read the book Stone Soup. 

How Doth the Little Crocodile by Lewis Carroll

One of the poems that my 4th grader memorized was, How Doth the Little Crocodile, by Lewis Carroll. After memorizing the poem we used the enrichment tools found in the Optional Lesson Enhancements. My daughter studied the difference between crocodiles and alligators. She researched areas around the world where crocodiles live. My daughter read Lyle the Crocodile books to her younger sister. 

These are just a few of the poems that my children have memorized thus far. Browsing through the book some of my favorites include:
  • Who Has Seen the Wind?
  • The Spider and the Fly
  • The Road Not Taken
  • The Touch of the Master's Hand
  • The Tiger
  • The Hand That Rocks the Cradle Is the Hand That Rules the World
  • Give Me Liberty
  • We Shall Fight on the Beaches
At the end of each of the first 4 levels the student is asked to chose a poem of their choice. 

On a side note, IEW generously allows the student workbook to be photocopied! 

The Appendix is a listing of biographies so that the student can familiarize themselves with the writers.

Nurturing Competent Communicators
This DVD features Andrew Pudewa and is almost 1 hour and 20 minutes in length. A few of the key points that I took away from the lecture were:
  • You can't get something out of the brain that wasn't there to begin with.
  • Children need a source of reliably correct and sophisticated English for success.
  • Reading the good and great books gives a child the comprehension that they need flourish.
  • Do not judge attentiveness by behavior.
  • Reading "whole books" drives a child to do more.
  • Around 1920 adult literature got spiced up and children's literature got dumbed down.
  • Memorized repertoire patterns aid in future conversational ability.
  • What made Fredrick Douglas such an eloquent speaker and writer was not his upbringing rather it was books on famous speeches from history that he was given and then memorized upon becoming a free man. He was furnishing his mind with the language, vocabulary, syntax, ideas, that then allowed him to recombine that knowledge to become a great communicator.
  • If you want to learn something well, you want the cumulative power of memorized repertoire. 
There are 7 amazing audio MP3's included. They include lectures on:
  • On Listening
  • On Reading
  • On Speaking
  • On Writing
  • Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding
  • Nurturing Competent Communicators
  • Mastery Leraning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
Each of these lectures provide the educator with a wealth of great information. I will warn you that listening to all of the above MP3's is time consuming but so worth it. As I listened to each of the audios I took notes to keep on hand for reference. I am still working on listening to the last couple of audios. 

As I listened to the audio's I had a lightbulb moment. For the high school student these would be a great supplement for a Speech/Communication credit. I have decided to add these to my high school student requirements. 

Final Thoughts
This poetry memorization program is fantastic. I would highly recommend the program to everyone. 

To read more reviews click HERE

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