Having a repertoire of memorized poetry is something my kids secretly enjoy… although some would never admit it. Sometimes when the younger ones are reciting their poetry, the older ones jump right in, remembering the same poems they had learned in earlier years.
There are many good reasons for copying and memorizing poetry: The rhythm and rhyme of poetry is catchy and fun. As they get older, the kids learn to appreciate the imagery and the way poets play with words, rhyme, and meter. More importantly, it is an excellent way to fill our children’s minds with beautiful imagery and rich vocabulary. In a world so devoid of culture and beauty, memorizing poetry is one way to help our children appreciate that which is true, beautiful, and good.
If your children start memorizing poetry at an early age, it becomes an easy habit. My kids repeat each new line several times, and it is memorized. But sometimes the process of copying poetry can be a little challenging.
Last year was Sparky’s first year of copying poetry. He had a hard time at first. While attempting to copy a poem, he would lose his place and become frustrated. So, I simplified the job for him by breaking the poem down line by line. I made him this little poetry workbook for 2-3rd graders, a collection of poems by Robert Louis Stevenson. With it he was able to enjoy the process much more.
This year, he still wasn’t quite ready to copy out of a regular poetry book. So I made another poetry workbook, where I broke down the poem verse by verse. This collection contains several humorous poems as well as other poems well suited for children in grades 3-4.
How do we use it? Each Monday, Sparky copies out one verse. On Tuesdays and Wednesdays, he memorizes the verse and reviews any previous verses and poems he has learned thus far. On Thursdays, he recites all the poems and verses by memory. We also work on diction and expressiveness, because, like many kids, he has a tendency to barrel through the poetry in a rapid and most incomprehensible manner.
Here are the poetry workbooks if you are interested:
As you plan for next year’s curriculum, consider leaving room for the memorization and recitation of poetry. Learning poetry only takes a few minutes each day, but it truly enriches and elevates the heart, mind, and soul.