What is Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization?
This set includes a Teacher's Manual and 5 CDs. There is a website printed on the audio CDs to download MP3 files. There is also a DVD of Andrew Pudewa's seminar, Nurturing Competent Communicators. The set comes in a full color box and the CDs are in a beautiful wallet. IEW is a generous company and they offer a complementary download of the student book with the purchase the Teacher's Manual and CDs. I appreciate that they do this, I have 4 kids who all want a book!
IEW sent us one Student Book as well. This is an additional purchase. It is a great option for those who would rather purchase a book already printed and bound, rather than use the Student Book pdf that comes with the Teacher's Manual.
With the purchase of the Teacher's Manual and CDs you can download 7 other MP3 files titled Mastery Learning, On Listening, On Reading, On Speaking, On Writing, Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding, and an audio file of Nurturing Competent Communicators. I enjoyed listening to the extras, they gave me more understanding of how children learn and help me teach them better.
The talk Nurturing Competent Communicators is about why good readers don't equal good writers, and how to expand vocabulary to ensure competent communication skills. Mr. Pudewa explains where vocabulary is learned and why certain sources are not as beneficial as others. He is enjoyable to listen to as he discusses the benefits of reading aloud to and memorizing good literature with children.
The Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization set includes 5 levels of poetry and speeches, from simple 4 line poems to complex selections such as Ronald Reagan's Brandenburg Gate Speech. It outlines how to practice memorization by using the mastery learning method, patterned similar to the method outlined by Dr. Suzuki for teaching music. The included CDs ensure that children understand how the words should be pronounced and hear the tones and inflections that make the selections more interesting to a listener. They also provide repetition, which allows children to memorize quicker.
How did we use this?
I gave the Student Book to my oldest child and printed off copies of the same book for my younger children. I chose to separate the younger children's books into levels and print them two to a page. It seemed to be easier for my younger kids and my boy to keep track of a smaller book. The student pages have pictures that can be colored. My children are in 7th, 5th, 2nd, and PreK and we all memorize the same things. I know my youngest two can memorize the same passages that my oldest children can because of how well they've done with it in the past. My youngest doesn't have the attention span to recite longer pieces, but we're not quitting memorization so when she's older she will know them just as well as the older kids.
We already do memorization 5-6 days a week, so we started using these books instead of adding more cards to our memorization box. Starting with Level 1, we listened to a poem on the CD 3 times each morning. Some days I will repeat it to them in the afternoon and have them attempt to recite it with me. By the third or fourth day the children have nearly perfected longer poems. They memorize shorter ones in one or two days. Don't worry if it takes longer, when we first started memorizing it took us longer to train our brains to remember! When they can say the poem without hesitation or skipped words, we begin another poem.
Each day we repeat all of the poems we already know. But, after a week of repeating a perfected poem daily, we repeat it less, though always once a week. As we move on to the other levels we will continue to recite the poems we already know. Each level includes a chart so you can mark off days you work on memorization, which selections you have memorized, instructions for how to practice them on alternating days, and a certificate for each level completed.
The Teacher's Manual includes notes with some of the selections. For instance, there is a link to watch the entire Brandenburg Gate Speech. The Charge of the Light Brigade includes a note that it documents an actual historical event, and explains it a little. The notes for The Yak explain who the Tartars are, and tells a little about the plains of Tibet.
Included in the appendices are author biographies, speech suggestions (at the end of each level you choose your own item to memorize), and lesson enhancements. These enhancements are fun, taking learning a step further. The suggestions with the poem Celery include reading Stone Soup, comparing veggies before and after cooking, and studying why fiber is important. Selections include teaching suggestions about various literary devices such as alliteration, allusion, rhyme, personification, and more. There are plenty of literature suggestions for further reading.
Will we continue to use this?
Of course we will, my children would cry if I told them we were done with poetry memorization! They have really enjoyed memorizing the first level and picking favorites from the remaining levels. We will be starting Level 2 in about two weeks, though I may let them pick a favorite to start with from any level. They can't wait to learn Jabberwocky, Rebecca, Who Slammed Doors for Fun and Perished Miserably, and The Touch of the Master's Hand. The kids think it's great to be able to recite poetry (they were thrilled to finally know all of My Shadow) but I know what wonderful things it's doing for their brains!
One of the benefits of memorizing, as described in the Nurturing Competent Communicators DVD, is that children will use what they memorize in their daily communication. My 4 year old was talking about a DVD that came out recently and she quoted from the poem The Yak. She said, with a rather serious face, "Tell your papa where the movie can be got. He will buy you the movie - or else he will not. I cannot be positive which." I've noticed the other children doing this as well! We already memorize plenty of scripture, and it's not easy to add scripture into daily conversation, so having an arsenal of memorized poetry to pull thoughts and words from has been entertaining.
My two youngest wanted to share a couple of their favorite poems. Please excuse the sniffles!
Where to find Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization: