Someone once said that you cannot draw out of a child, or anyone else, what is not there to begin with.
So by memorizing poetry, you are filling your child with rich language, literary devices and story telling, therefore having something with which to draw out.
If we want our children to be well versed and articulate communicators then we should give them great poems to remember and make their own.
The poems your children memorize will become part of them as well as a gift to their children and grandchildren, as they are passed on in quiet story times.
Poetry memorization should be thought of as a gift, from you to your children. A rich gift full of promise, uniqueness and wonder.
You can start poetry memorization as early as your child can speak. There are so many wonderful poets for young children to choose from.
In our homeschool, my children learn to memorize various poems from various poets throughout the year.
The method for memorizing poetry is the same as that for bible scriptures. Print out the poem and hang it up in your school area so your children can view it frequently. Read the entire poem through so they can hear proper rhythm and pronunciation. Discuss with your child any unknown words.
If the poem is more than one stanza long, focus on trying to learn one stanza at a time. This has always worked well for our family. Then just practice throughout the day trying to say the poem, or stanza, in its entirety. Take several days or several weeks to learn the poem. There is no need to rush.
When everyone can successfully recite the poem, put it into a Poetry Notebook. You can have your child illustrate a page to go with the poem, or use the poem as copywork and then put that into their notebook. Their notebook will contain all the poems or speeches that they know by heart.
You should file your poems in the same manner as your bible scriptures, with a couple exceptions. Start a new file box just for poetry and speeches. Make all your dividers the same but don’t move the poems into the dates dividers for a whole year. Once your last poem is in the Friday or Sunday divider, let that be as far back as it is moved. This will give your children maximum exposure to the poems, which generally are longer than your scriptures. Once your year is over you may start moving them into the dates dividers.
Also, there is no need to write the entire poem out on the index card unless you just want to, you may simply just write the title of the poem if you prefer.
To do a poet study, simply pick a poet from the list below. This is by no means an extensive list, but there are many great artists to choose from here that will get you started.
Check out, or purchase, a few books with this poet’s poetry. Take one day per week and read aloud from the book. Let older kids read some for their independent reading time. Then pick a day and let each child stand up and read his favorite poem to the family. Talk about the poems, use the poems for copywork if desired. Use this time to allow your children to really immerse themselves with the poems and writing style of this one poet. If the poet likes using a certain literary device try and find it whenever it is used.
If your children have a favorite poem by this poet use it as your next poem to memorize.
Our family usually studies between 1-2 poets per term(12 weeks). We spend anywhere from 6-12 weeks per poet depending on interest. If desired we read a biography about the poet.
Famous Poets to Get You started
- Robert Louis Stevenson
- Shel Silverstein
- Christian Rosetti
- Hughes Mearns
- Hillary Belloc
- William Wise
- Robert Frost
- Emily Dickenson
- Robert Browning
- Rudyard Kipling
- Maya Angelou
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
- William Wordsworth