Poetry memorization (and other memory work)

Copywork, Cursive, Dictation, Grammar, Handwriting, Letter Writing, Memory Work, Narration, Read-Alouds, Spelling, Vocabulary, & Writing (many of these topics apply to other subjects such as Bible, History, and Science)
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Poetry memorization (and other memory work)

Unread post by tiffany »

ballzy wrote:Does anyone have their dc memorize all the poems? Many of them are really long.
I have struggled with this as well with my 10 year old daughter. She usually ends up being able to do it fairly well in the end, but it is like pulling teeth to get her to do it and tends to become a battle.

I've tried giving her a week to memorize each selection, while continuing to work in PLL. I mark off sections for her to break it down.

This is a new skill for her and she is extremely frustrated with new tasks, especially if they don't come naturally. I think it would be good for her, but I'm about ready to scrap it. I've also considered just having her memorize one section of each poem until her brain is more accustomed to this activity.

I'd appreciate input as well. Should I give it up or just scale back?
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Unread post by kellybell »

We do just a little of the PLL/ILL memorization because the kids are memorizing so many verses for AWANA and pieces for violin. But, we do memorize some. I try to make it low-pressure, reminding them to work 5 mins. on it each day and then "let me know when you think you have it." It helps to have some way to share the poem, such as during a nursing home visit or at a co-op.

Regardless of whether or not we memorize a piece, we discuss the rhyme scheme and choice of words. I guess I ought to learn about poetic meter and then we could talk about it too. We've got one of those "all in one" computer printers that can scan, copy, and print, and often I will print out copies of the poems so that they can write the rhyme scheme (you know, ABAB CDCD, etc.) and underline words they don't know or find interesting. If you discuss the poem like this before memorizing, it seems like it is easier to memorize.

My two older girls are in 3rd and 5th grade (one just finishing PLL and one in ILL). Often, we'll do the same poems at the same time, unless it's a really difficult piece. Again, the copier comes in handy. It seems to help having a buddy to do this with.

Kelly, wife to Jim since 1988, mom to Jamie (a girl, 1994), Mary (1996), Brian (1998) and Stephanie (2001).
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Unread post by momto4boys »

When we start a lesson on memorization, I first read the poem to my ds and explain the meaning to it. We "digest" it to understand what the poet was meaning. Then I hand them the tape player w/ our "poem tape" in it, of which I've already recorded the poem on and they go and listen to it for 15 min. a day. When we have a poem to memorize that's the only assignment I give them in English for the week. I give them one week to complete it. My 2nd grader recently started lesson 57 in PLL (the Dutch Lullaby) and it was REALLLLY long and in the midst of him learning it, we all came down w/ the flu. So needless to say, we just skipped over that one. But this method has worked really well w/ both my boys.

The other nice aspect is I don't have to sit and "help" each one, they have me on tape.

Wife of 13yrs to Mark, momma to Britton (1995), Brayson (1997), Rafe (2001) and Daniel (2003)
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Does everyone have their children memorize?

Unread post by hollyjay »

Tina wrote:When using PLL and ILL-- Does everyone have their children memorize these selections that are suggested to memorize? I just have a feeling with my 2nd grader, it will take a very long time to memorize "Lady Moon" Lesson 18 PLL.

And, what is a stanza? I feel a little foolish asking these things, but I'm just not sure? ILL Lesson 6 Selection for study.
Posted: Tue Aug 30, 2005 8:37 pm
Yes, I do have them memorize the poems and surprisingly they do well with it.

I figure, if they can memorize commercial jingles and whatnot, they can memorize poems.

My youngest dd (beginning 3rd grade) memorized two within a month last spring (while in 2nd grade)! She loved it actually! We just spread it out over several days to work on it.

A stanza in a poem is like a verse in a song. There is usually a space between each stanza to separate it.
Holly Isaac,
wife of Jason (20 yrs),
mom of Allison (17), Kirsten (14) & Heather (12)

Homeschooling with MFW since 2004. We've used ECC through 1850-Mod Times.
Linda, TX
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Unread post by Linda, TX »

Posted: Sat Sep 03, 2005 5:14 pm
Just a note about how we handle memorizing--I have my daughter look at the poem and read a line at a time out loud to me to help me memorize it. She has it memorized long before I do. :)
Daughter Dallas (1997) and son Steve (1986)
Karen in TN
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How many memorize the whole selection?

Unread post by Karen in TN »

Tina wrote:How many out there actually have the child memorize the whole selection? Take for instance Lesson 4 Selection to be memorized "If I knew" seems rather long to me to have a 7 yo memorize. [see the rest of the story below]
Posted: Thu Sep 08, 2005 6:06 am
We just started PLL - we are on the memorization selection A Secret. My ds just turned 7, and he is in 2nd grade (Adventures). I hesitated over the poem "If I Knew," but we tried it - taking 4 lines per day. He did amazingly well! He even chose to do 8 lines the last day - it took him just 3 days to memorize it. I was really surprised - I don't think I could do as well!

I seem to remember reading that elementary aged children are very good at memorizing - that they are memorizing/ learning every minute of the day, absorbing what we take for granted - what signs mean, how can openers work, etc.

When we memorized "If I Knew," I had my ds take one step for every word, so he was moving constantly, and it also seemed to help him focus on one word at a time.

Karen in TN, wife to Jereme (1997), mom to Caleb (1998), Hannah (2000), Alissa (2002), Megan (2004), ??? (2006)
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Unread post by Tina »

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 6:05 pm
Just an update to those who replied regarding the memorization. I was concerned with how much to expect from my 7 yo ds, who isn't exactly thrilled with memorizing. He did really well.

Lesson 4 of PLL, he memorized the first "stanza", and that was all I asked of him. Since he made the effort and did it, and didn't complain about it, I am going to leave it at that. I was very proud of him that he tried it, and maybe the next one, we can get a few more lines of it memorized.

He actually did better with memorizing it because he was able to draw a picture of the the smile of boxes, and large key, and stong bolt, which really helped him memorize it. He also tried singing it to the tune of "Old Susanna", which I thought was pretty smart of him. Today he used hand motions for the selection, which I thought, again, was pretty smart of him. (I don't always want to make him write it, because he's not a big fan of "the pencil" if you know what I mean.) Now that I know he can do it, we will keep trying with it.

The same day, my dd had a selection to memorize in ILL, Lesson 5, and she memorized all of it. She enjoys stuff like that, and she was funny because she said to me, "Why didn't I memorize that in 2nd grade? I don't remember that" (speaking of her brother's selection), and it is funny because I just skipped over it (Uggggg) when I did it with her in 2nd grade, because I didn't think she would want to do it.

So, lesson for me, TRY, they just might surprise you!!! Blessings
Tina, homeschooling mother of Laura (1996), Jacob (1998) and Tucker (2003) In MO
"One of the greatest blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--JIM ELLIOT
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Unread post by Lucy »

Posted: Sun Sep 11, 2005 11:28 pm
Looking back I wish I had done more memorizing. We did some of them but not all of them. It is good practice since as we get older in school there are things that we have to memorize.

Sometimes I would look ahead and let them choose from 2 or 3 (although we read and discusssed all of them). At times if I really liked the meaning of one I would have them do that one. Because we memorize scripture also they are getting good practice in memorizing that way too.

We are in year 4 and although we have memorized large sections of scripture before it has only been a verse or 2 a week. This year we have been challenged to try and memorize the book of James. We spend a week or so studying the verses and then 2 or 3 memorizing them. We learned the first 4 verses last week and we are all doing it as a family together. It is going well. At first my 5th grade son did not think he could do it but he is doing really well. I do not think if we had not been doing scripture memory all along that my kids would have been very into it. May the Lord use it to change our lives.

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The Brown Thrush (Lsn 46)

Unread post by southernshae »

Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 1:54 pm
We're enjoying PLL and are steadily working on memorizing The Brown Thrush (Lsn 46). I am having dd write a little each week (on blank top writing paper) and illustrate the new parts.... it may take a few months (and 5 pages) this way, but I really like this poem and so does dd.

4 dc (3 in ps, 1 dc at home)
MFW1 ...slowly.. with ds
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The Little Brown Thrush & Lady Moon

Unread post by Tina »

kellybell wrote:Using PLL for my ds. We don't do all the memorization, but he chose The LIttle Brown Thrush for a speech co-op we're in. My ds is a wild, active, jumping, spinning, loud boy and it was quite endearing to see him stand still and recite, from memory, this cute little poem.

Using PLL and ILL has taught ME a lot. You sure don't find those darling poems in the modern LA programs, do you?
Posted: Mon Sep 25, 2006 9:25 pm
kellybell: We did that same speech co-op last year and my son did the Lady Moon poem. It was the same case with me, so nice to see him recite a nice poem that he worked on to memorize. PLL has some good things in it to use for such things as speech co-ops.

I would also add that the memorization can be done alongside another lesson in PLL. For example, when we memorized a certain poem in PLL, we wouldn't spend a whole week doing just that, sometimes we would do the next lesson, which might be a conversation lesson. My son also doesn't like copy work, so sometimes I would have him copy the first stanza, and illustrate it; the next day, copy the next stanza and illustrate it; etc. This also helped him memorize it too. It gave him the ability to show how he saw the poem, too. We enjoy going back and looking at those!
Tina, homeschooling mother of Laura (1996), Jacob (1998) and Tucker (2003) In MO
"One of the greatest blessings of heaven is the appreciation of heaven on earth. He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose."--JIM ELLIOT
Julie - Staff
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Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006 9:28 pm by Kim Schroter
My daughter loved saying "I shan't tell the rest!", a line from one of the poems she memorized. She even went around the house using an English accent!

Posted Tue Oct 31, 2006 10:26 pm by southernshae
I'm so glad you're liking it. We really like PLL too! However, in the poem you mentioned, my strong-willed daughter would not say "shan't" but changed it to "shall not" every time (though she did love that poem).

Posted Wed Nov 01, 2006 12:40 pm by shellie
Kim Schroter wrote: My daughter loved saying "I shan't tell the rest!", a line from one of the poems she memorized.
I had to giggle when I got to this line, only because it is the exact OPPOSITE of the reaction I'm getting from my boys. ^__^ Maybe it's because they are boys, or maybe because they have gone through many years of public school and have not been exposed to good poetry until now ... but when both boys hit their first poem in PLL and ILL, and read something like, "October! Orchard of the year! Ripened seeds shake in their pods" and "So when some dear joy loses its beauteous summer glow.." ... you should have seen their faces!! Both of them, doing their lessons separately, said the exact same thing: "You've GOT to be kidding me, mom!" Their response to beautiful poetry gave me instant feelings at opposite ends of the spectrum... I initially laughed out loud because of their hilarious expressions of disbelief at the strange language. THEN I wanted to cry, because my 8 and 11 year olds had obviously NOT read classic poetry before!

We really are enjoying PLL and ILL though. Actually, after reading a few really great poems now, my boys at least can read them out loud without rolling their eyes. ^__^ (Give me a few years... I hope to have them actually enjoying some of them! ~_^)
Julie - Staff
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Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Posted Mon Mar 12, 2007 10:26 pm by TurnOurHearts
I thought I'd comment about memorization & PLL :)

The memorization selections can be, much like all of PLL, tailored to your child's situation. Some kids LOVE to memorize, some can barely get the scripture verse every two weeks. When I first looked at some of the selections, I thought, "There's no way my boy will get this."

Can I just tell you how wrong I was?! Ask him to recite the one about "Wynken, Blynken & Nod," and we all still belly-laugh! The selections are very clever & catchy. My 5 year-old even does them!!

The way we approach it is how Marie suggests: Read it through a couple times the first day, and continue to read it each day of the week, in addition to the new lessons (so you don't fall behind). Each day I leave out more of the text (orally) & the kiddos pipe right up with the words! Before I (or they) know it, they're reciting memorized poetry. :) Now, we don't always memorize the whole thing, but they really enjoy the selections, and I'm pretty sure that is, at least in part, the point.

Have a great year!
Paige in NC
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How do you handle the memorization?

Unread post by LizCT »

holynickel wrote:How do you handle the memorization? I am looking ahead to next year and I am just not sure if my ds will be able to handle memorizing poems from PLL, and bible verses from church and I am assuming there will be some Bible Memorization in Adventures. So how did you handle it all?
Posted: Fri May 25, 2007 10:48 pm
Others may have great advice - my only comment/suggestion would be that you know your son, and you can determine what is reasonable to expect of him. Just because the book says to have him do a certain thing, it's ok to adjust it to the needs and circumstances of your child.

I'm in the same spot as you - we are just finishing out MFW 1st, and we will be using Adventures & other 2nd grade materials this coming school year.

I have adjusted my expectations of my children based on other work they may be doing, just as you have said. When they are working hard to memorize scripture verses for church, or if they are writing a lot for another project, I scale back my expectations for additional work in those areas.

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Unread post by kellybell »

Posted: Fri May 25, 2007 11:39 pm
I agree with Liz that you know your child and you are the one that knows how much to push. You want to push a little (to give a challenge) but not enough to discourage.

For memory work, you might not even do any PLL memorization, focusing on Bible (maybe MFW, maybe Sunday School or AWANA) memorization instead of PLL.

If you choose to do any PLL memorization, perhaps choose to memorize just a bit. Maybe one sentence not an entire paragraph or stanza. Start small and work bigger.

So, ladies, how do you all memorize PLL or Bible things?

Sometimes we don't TRY to memorize but simply read something several times -- and without trying we often memorize it.

For Bible verses (I'd rather their efforts go to memorizing that than PLL poems), I'll print them out (I really like http://www.biblegateway.com for Bible verses -- it avoids me typing them in and you can choose your version) and tape them on the bathroom wall, put them on the frig, etc. This works well for a visual learner.

For other memory work, you might want to have the child read the poem (or you read it) into a tape recorder and listen to it several times later. Again, it works without really trying. This works especially well for an auditory learner.

Posted: Tue May 13, 2008 11:31 pm
We've memorized some poems and the others we have just read through and discussed or memorized just one stanza. Some of the poems are too sweet to skip, IMO.

One thing that I do to help with memory work is have the kiddos write out the poem, the verse, or whatever. And sometimes I will type the verse into Word and then print it out in a big font and tape it in the bathroom, just opposite of the seat. Then, while the child is sitting there, the verses or poem is right there. Captive audience. Works great. Other moms tape verses on the mirrors or on doors or leave cards out on the dining room table, etc.

And, as is suggested in the EX1850 TM, it's a good idea to recite the verses (or poem) a few times a day.

If you can find the verses or poems on CD or tape, playing it in the background helps. You could even get a cheap-o tape recorder and have your child record himself reading the poem (or verses) and play it a few times a day. I can still remember funny jokes my brother told on his tape recorder! I can still hear his voice. I never tried to learn those things, but there they are, 30+ years later.

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Sat May 26, 2007 5:19 am
I do what Kelly said (maybe Liz did too) --- just one stanza. We'll study the poem together no matter what. We read it out loud several times. I work on it for 3 lesson days, while also doing another PLL lesson that is short and nearby. (Yes, that means I sometimes skip around a tiny bit.) I will read it out loud and let the child fill in as much as she remembers, or read along with my kid and let her fill in the missing words when "I'm stuck". We'll do arm/hand motions to help with memory.

I treat it as a poetry study and the memory part of has its importance, but it is part of a bigger picture. Talk about the poem (what is this thing saying?), hear it read by me out loud, hand the book over and let the child read it out loud. At the same time, I look at those lessons as a time for practicing public speaking skills.

Posted: Tue May 13, 2008 8:36 am
I certainly adjust the memory work from PLL. We use the poems more for a poem study. In my family we will read the poem over three days while still doing other PLL lessons. But my personal preference is that memory work come from scripture emphasis. But, understanding poetry is an important language art skill too so we don't leave those out. I have them practice reading them out loud.

A lot of lessons in PLL can be orally and considered “couch time” for language arts.

I found them to have a lot of variety in the lessons. It wasn’t all dictation and poems. I just took a glance at the table of contents in PLL. PLL has 164 lessons. Half are used in 2nd grade; the other half in 3rd grade. I counted 8 memory lessons in the 2nd grade half and 9 in the 3rd grade. Not too bad. Thought you'd like to know so you can better plan if it is what you'd like to go with.

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Unread post by caod »

Posted: Sat May 26, 2007 1:16 pm
We didn't memorize it all. I did have her practice standing tall, reading with expression, and typing it out and putting it on the wall for us to look at. It means a lot just to talk about the poem, what it means, the examples, rhyme, whatever. It would be weeks of having it on the wall though and there were lots of times that she never managed to memorize the whole poem. I never sweated it one way or the other. My dd is actually quite good at memorizing. We would just on ocasion go over the poem and see what she remembered. Then eventually I would take it down and put it in her notebook to look at every once in while.

The bible memory in ADV is not a big deal. It is doable and they only give a verse every 2 weeks. Some are quite short.

Have fun.
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Unread post by rachel »

Posted: Sat May 26, 2007 6:13 pm
As far as memorization, someone may have mentioned this, but putting verses to music seems to help my children a lot. Makes it fun. You can use familiar tunes and just add your own words.
Julie - Staff
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Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:00 pm

Unread post by Julie - Staff »

Sun Mar 16, 2008 10:00 pm
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Unread post by lyntley »

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:02 pm

We don't do PLL or ILL memorization. We read through it everyday for a couple of days but another thing to memorize would be overkill for this family. I'm sure you could pick and choose what is most important for your little ones to memorize. We've also used them as practicing reading poetry/ reading with expression etc. You know your kiddies best.
Julie L.
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Unread post by Julie L. »

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 10:32 pm

We don't do PLL's memorization either. I just have ds8 read it and we move on. Ds is in drama at church and he memorizes verses also. And to me that is enough unless he wants to memorize PLL pages, but of course he doesn't.

Julie L.

The Swing - Lessons 28 & 118

Unread post by cbollin »

Posted: Wed Nov 14, 2007 9:38 pm
Interesting side note from our lessons last week:
We did Lesson 118: you refer back to lesson 28, The Swing.
I figured that my 3rd grader would have long forgotten this poem. I barely remember it. But she began to sing it to me. It seems we had checked out a Children's music CD from the Library that had this poem on it. The CD is called Sing a Song of Seasons, and is by Rachel Buchman. Hope it helps someone else with poem memory for that lesson.

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Wynken, Blyken and Nod -- PLL

Unread post by Ariasarias »

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 2:55 pm
Just wanted to pass along a little find. My dd is just now supposed to be learning this poem for PLL. She was not the least bit excited -- said it was too long :). Anyway I was able to find on youtube the old disney short of the lullaby and also some group singing it. My dc enjoyed it and my dd seems more interested in the poem now.

Posted: Tue May 13, 2008 5:36 pm
I have been surprised with how much my dd can memorize. Some of the poems have looked way too long to me. In fact, I have not really memorized any of them :). But my dd has!! :)

We spread the poems out over weeks, learning a stanza at a time then putting it all together. For example, a four stanza poem may take four whole weeks. This takes a few minutes a day and then we still have time to work on a lesson. I will say my dd has been proud of herself, and she even thought she couldn't do some of them, but was surprised when she did finish it.
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Wynken, Blyken and Nod -- PLL

Unread post by TriciaMR »

Posted: Wed Feb 06, 2008 5:24 pm
We memorized this poem last month. We found a book at the library that was the poem, with beautiful pictures with it. My dd really liked it. It was by the author, but I forget who did the illustrations.

Posted: Tue May 13, 2008 9:19 am
Post subject: It can be done...

About memorizing Poems in general...

Awana would have us read the whole poem the first day and discuss it. Then the next day, read the whole poem, and then re-read the first stanza. The next day, read the whole poem and then re-read the second stanza and so on for each stanza. Then we would switch to having her have a go at it, and me filling in where she stumbled. It would occasionally throw in a review of an older poem, just to mix things up. It only takes a couple of minutes to read the poem out loud.

I am always amazed about how quickly the little ones can memorize something, especially a fun, rhyming poem. The kids love it too, especially fun ones like Wynken, Blynken and Nod, or the Sugar Plum Tree. Robert L. Stevenson poems are our favorites.

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Wynken, Blyken and Nod -- PLL

Unread post by Lainie »

Posted: Thu Feb 07, 2008 3:06 pm

Just the educational portion on Eugene Field by Walt Disney is on Youtube and really a great way to introduce him to kids. A bit about Wynken, Blynken, and Nod is in it too. My dd was also daunted by memorizing this and thoroughly enjoyed watching it!
Julie in MN
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Memorize the poems?

Unread post by Julie in MN »

my3sons wrote:Memorization- do you all require your dc to memorize the poems? My kids are in AWANA and a Bible study that requires Scripture memorization. Seems like a lot of memorizing to me!
Posted: Tue May 13, 2008 10:16 am
I never had ds memorize many poems, but he still benefits a lot from hearing good poetry (often famous lines), and all the discussion questions included in PLL/ILL asking him to look closely at the vocabulary and other things that are a bit different in poetry than in prose.

Remember that this is supposed to be about a 15 minute lesson, and that Emma Serl was working with a class full of students so she needed different things out of the book than we do.
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