And all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children. Isaiah 54:13 KJV

Monday, May 16, 2016

Enjoy Poetry {Review} #poetrymemorization

I think one of the best parts of being a homeschool curriculum reviewer is when my kids surprise me with a product they love. That was certainly the case with Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization set from Institute for Excellence in Writing. We've use other IEW curricula regularly and generally their products are a big hit, but my kids have wanted nothing to do with poetry ever. My sweet book lover hasn't been a fan. My other kid who likes reading has shown no interest. This arrived, and now they BEG to do poetry time.

I love the way God brings it all together sometimes. Over Christmas break, I decided we really needed to be regularly memorizing scripture. The kids have typically balked at memorization of any kind, but they were receptive to the idea. Each week they have memorized a line or two of scripture that I've just randomly selected. I think this got them ready for poetry memorization (even though I didn't know it).

IEW always sends their curriculum nicely packaged. This set came in a sturdy box with a teacher's manual and a lovely brown case that contained 5 audio discs for the poetry memorization and a DVD of Andrew Pudewa's talk on Nuturing Competent Communicators. Listening to one of his talks is like being in a session at a homeschool convention. He always gives thorough information in a humorous way. That's why my kids like him! I did watch that talk, and I completely examined all the information in the teacher's manual before I ever started the program with the kids. The set includes the student book as an ebook that can be printed along with some other digital downloads. There are 7 digital downloads in all, and they include a digital copy of Nuturing Competent Communicators and On Listening, On Reading, On Speaking, On Writing, Mastery Learning, and Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding. All 7 of these are sessions from Andrew Pudewa and all 7 are worth a listen! As an added bonus, IEW even sent us one printed Student Book. The printed book is available for purchase separately from the set. I also printed out a separate copy of the student book so we'd have 2.
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

Level 1 (where it is recommended for everyone to begin) starts with a funny little poem titled "Ooey Gooey". I've now heard this little poem approximately a billion times. They love it! It is so short and a little humorous. So to begin the program the students begin with the first poem and recite it daily until it is memorized. They flew through the first 2. Every day they repeat all the poems they've memorized to that point and the one they are working on. IEW embraces full mastery learning, and I fully believe that is the best learning but I am often lax on that point. However, with the poems they will continue reciting them all until they have all 20 memorized. Mr. Pudewa recommends a big celebration when they reach the end of Level One so they can recite all their poems for others. I know my kids will totally dig that idea.

Each poem has a little picture they can color which they have enjoyed. The book contains 5 levels of poetry to memorize. This program can be used for a long time! The audio CDs are included so students can hear Mr. Pudewa speak each poem. It is important for them to learn proper timing for all of the pieces. They are also to learn the title and author of each selection. While level one includes many funny little poems, it includes one with 8 (very short) paragraphs. The last selection is left to personal choice, but there are suggestions. The humor in these poems is key for keeping students interested. I'm not sure either of my kids would be excited about doing poetry every day if they didn't find entertainment in each new poem. The competition between the two of them doesn't hurt either.

Level 2 also contains 19 poems and space for a personal choice on number 20. It includes some funny selections and some poems with a more serious tone. Students will also recite each poem they learn all the way through the end in Level 2. Some of the selections are wordy. In Level 3 there is a schedule to help keep previously memorized poems in the rotation of recitation. Most of these poems are in a serious tone but there are some fun selections thrown in among the 20. Casey at Bat is in Level 3. My baseball loving boy will be THRILLED to get to that one! Level 4 is generally the same with another recitation schedule. If your students make it to level 5, they will memorize excerpts from speeches. I love history, and I think that is fantastic!

As if 5 levels with all the extras mentioned above weren't enough, the teacher's manual also includes an enrichment section. There are biographies on the authors and additional information to go along with each poem. These are optional suggestions for further study. Some of the suggestions are about vocabulary or other literature suggestions. The rest of them give information on linking the poems to other subjects like literature, history, and science. IEW truly provides the instructor with everything they could need.

The kids really do love doing this. They are excited for their shared poetry time each day. It's a little competition for them to learn the new selections first. They don't need to be prompted to work on them even on off days. I am so happy that they love this activity because memorization increases a child's ability to learn and retain information. It is also giving them an opportunity to present information aloud (even if it's just to me). In a few short weeks, they have both successfully recited poems 1-5 and are working on number 6. I'm interested to see if they will continue through the summer on their own. I think they will!

See what other Crew members thought about Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization:
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

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