We love Institute for Excellence in Writing, as I’m sure you can tell from many of my other posts and reviews, so I knew we would love adding Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization to our daily schedule. Being primarily a classical educator, we do a LOT of memorization and add poetry to our school year every year, so I was excited to give Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization a try, I knew we would not be disappointed.
About the Program
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization is another great product from the Institute of Excellence in Writing. The program focuses on 96 poems, many famous and well-known, and speeches. A CD with all the poems being read aloud is included in the program to help the student memorize the poetry by hearing it regularly. The 5 CDs, one for each level, come in a very handy compact disc holder. The Teachers Manual, included in the program, includes instructions, memory charts, certificates of completion or memorization, and the biographies of the poets featured in the program. The Student Book is a hard copy of the poems, separated by level, to use to read and make progress. A bonus DVD featuring Andrew Pudewa, if you read my blog you know my daughter liked this, talks about the importance of memorization. The lecture is entitled “Nurturing Component Communicators.”
The poetry is divided into levels. There are various types of poetry included in each level. Some of the included poets in the program are Robert Louis Stevenson, Lord Alfred Tennyson, Robert Frost, Walt Whitman, W.B. Yeats, Herman Melville, and even William Shakespeare.
Each level has 20 selected poems, with #20 being a personal selection that the student and parent can select to memorize. There are 4 levels of poetry. Level five is a collection of 20 speeches to memorize includes St. Crispin’s Day Speech by William Shakespeare, 1789 Abolition Speech by William Wilberforce, and the Gettysburg Address by Abraham Lincoln.
Each level has a “Getting Started with Level X” which includes a list of the best practices for learning the poetry including listening to the audio daily, working at your own pace, reciting all the poems you have learned so far regularly, and then a progress report in chart form at the bottom to check off the days you are recited the poem you are working on as well as all those poems learned to date.
Beginning at Level 2 there is also included a plan on how to keep up with the previous level poems while learning the poems in the next level. The “Maintaining Earlier Levels” chart gives a plan for practicing several of the previously learned poem on a regular basis (but not daily). The end of each section level contains a “Certificate of Completion” to give to your student when they have completed a level of poetry memorization.
The Student Book includes an Appendix with the biographies of the poets; the Teacher’s Manual also has the biographies in Appendix A. Appendix B in the Teacher’s Guide contains ideas for Lesson Enhancements to go with each poem, in case that is something you are interested in. These include ideas regarding things like Science, Character, Literature, Vocabulary, Music, Poetic Elements, History, Sports, and Comprehension. Lesson enhancements are provided for all poetry in Levels 1 through 4.
The Introduction in the Teacher’s Manual provides some insight into the program including answering questions like “Why Memorization?,” Why Poetry?,” “Mastery Learning – What is it?,” “How This Program is Set up,” and “How to Teach the Program.”
Each level has the 20th poem as Personal Selection. The Teacher’s Manual provides suggestions for the personal selection if you are having a difficult time choosing a poem. There is room in the Student Book to copy the chosen poem into their book.
The Teacher’s Manual has everything that the teacher needs to conduct the program with no need for the Student Book. All poems are provided in the Teacher’s Manual. However, the full page Certificate of Completion is available in the Student Book and not in the Teacher’s Manual as well as the student sheets to mark progress. The Student Book also has some coloring pictures that go with the poem throughout if you student likes to color. The Student Book IS included as a pdf with the program; however, you have to purchase the spiral bound Student guide separately if you want a hard copy.
What We Thought
I have students that are not close in age, they are 4 years apart. However, I chose to use Level 1 for both. Though the first couple of poems were very simple for my 11 years old, they were perfect for my 6 year old and I liked the idea of them learning together and being able to learn the same poems. Since my daughter had not learned these poems I saw no issue with that. So, we started together at Level 1.
My son loved the first few poems. He was excited to present the 1st poem in Level 1, Ooey Gooey by an unknown author, to his homeschool group for presentation day.
The poems provided in Level 1 are very fun for the most part, so the kids liked them. Level 2 starts out with some smaller poems but does get into some lengthy poems like Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll and The Charge of the Light Brigade by Tennyson. We are looking forward to getting these on our repertoire.
Each level has various types of poems as well as a variety of lengths. I think my kids were surprised at who well they could master some of these lengthier poems. They started out thinking it was impossible because “it’s too long” but were pleasantly surprised. They memorize a LOT in our school, which is common in Classical Education, so I was pleased to see the continued ease of memorization with the poems.
We played the CDs during our school day, sometimes in the car on the way to appointments and extra curriculars, and sometimes before dinner so we could practice for dad. I liked the included audio CD very much, I think this was very helpful and made studying and review much easier than without it. Just popping in the CD and playing it really quickly and then going through it without the CD takes 10-15 minutes maybe and then we have practiced. Some of the shorter poems, this is a 5 minute investment, 10 minutes if you are reviewing a previous poem as well.
Overall, we were very impressed with the program, the layout, and the quality of the materials that were provided, which is not surprising as we always are impressed with the quality of the programs provided by the Institute for Excellence in Writing.
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