May 17, 2016

Poetry Memorization Course from IEW--That Kids Will Actually Enjoy! {Curriculum Review}

Poetry. I love it and it's something that my boys are drawn to as well. We love the rhythm of the words and the word pictures poetry can make. Though we have dabbled in it here and there, we've never spent time actually committing them to heart. When we had the chance to review Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization by Institute of Excellence in Writing, I was eager to incorporate it into our day.

Product Information

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization is a poetry curriculum from Institute of Excellence in Writing (IEW). It was designed to introduce students to the beauty of literature, and through recitation and memorization infuse correct and sophisticated English Language patterns into the child's brain. The beauty of the program is that it is done simply by teaching your child to recite poetry, and not just say it, but say it with flair!Designed to promote mastery through repetition, even the youngest student is capable of achieving great works of memorization with this program.

The following items are contained in this set (retail $65.00):

*spiral bound Teacher Manual containing all 96 poems and speeches

*CD case with cd's of readings for every selection for easy memorization

*Student Book eBOOK download

*bonus DVD of Andrew Pudewa's conference talk Nurturing Competent Communicators

*audio mp3 recordings with additional information regarding the benefits of memorization and recitation:
--Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
--Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding
--On Listening
--On Speaking
--On Reading
--On Writing

The program is divided into different levels with the difficulty of each selection increasing as the levels are completed. The pieces for memorization included offer a wide range of selections from the whimsical poem to a famous speech. There are certificates and poet biographies included in the set for you to use as needed.

There is also a spiral bound student book available for purchase separately.

We were given the poetry memorization course to review with both boys (age 5 and 10).

How Did We Use the Product?

I was happy when this product arrived and eagerly tore into the box. I was surprised to discover that IEW sent us the printed version of the student book as a bonus! What a blessing, especially when I have two boys to do this program. Now one could use the printed version, while the other used a print out from the digital version. I logged into my IEW account and was able to add all the mp3 files and the student book pdf to my account following the directions on the paper included with the package.

The teacher manual is very straight forward with an excellent introduction about the importance and argument FOR recitation and memorization in schools. It was well worth reading before getting started. The introduction also includes a chart for keeping track of all the poems that are learned each day. I printed off two copies of this chart (one on green, one on blue) and then laminated them so that we could keep track of our work. I really didn't need to laminate them, but this way they won't get destroyed from constantly pull the papers out to record our work each day.

I flipped through the poems in level 1 and discovered that we were already familiar with the first three, as they are part of Baby Britches' language arts program which is also produced by IEW. Because of the familiarity, we quickly jumped through the first three poems and had them memorized without mistakes in a week or less. The Vulture by Hilaire Belloc was our first new poem and because it was funny, the boys even worked on it on their own, outside of our school day. I heard them trying to recite it several times over the next days--especially when working on cleaning their room. LOL. It took Little Britches about 3 days to have it totally memorized--we did it one stanza at a time. Baby Britches took about 6 days.

The rest of our review time has been spent working on memorizing the 5th poem in the book, After the Party by William Wise, which is a four stanza-24 line poem. We learned a new stanza about every 3 days--but with adding in the previous stanzas, this means we ended up learning a new stanza about once a week. When we introduce the poem for the first time, we play the CD with Andrew Pudewa saying the poem and the boys color the illustration from the student book, while they listen the first time. Then they continue to color while they listen to it two more times before we try it on our own. By the end of the first day, we have learned the basic first stanza at the very least.
As of today, we officially knocked out After the Party and will be moving on to poem #6 this week. For your viewing pleasure, I recorded each boy saying poems from the curriculum. Little Britches is proudly reciting After the Party, while Baby Britches picked Ooey Gooey and The Vulture for his selections.

What Are Our Thoughts on the Product?

We love the program!

The boys already had a love for poetry, and when we saw that the first poem was one that we had learned in another IEW program, they had no trouble jumping right in. In fact, they discovered that the first three poems were ones they already knew! They enjoyed listening to Andrew Pudewa say the poems on the CD and then quickly picked up on the structure for reciting them.

I never had to remind them--they told me daily if it was time to practice their poems. They helped each other by giving cues if needed. They laughed when they tried to say them super fast and enjoyed coloring the illustrations on the printout. Their favorite thing was making the videos so they could see themselves say the poems.

I really enjoyed this program too. I couldn't help but learn the poems right along with the boys. It was so easy to add it in--just 10 minutes or less a day--and it was such an informal method, for we simply kept reciting the poetry no matter where we were or what day it was. We would also take cues from different things. If someone wanted a snack, one of the boys would break out into a rendition of The Vulture. If mentioned a worm, Ooey Gooey was repeated with glee.

I don't really have any cons for the program. It is definitely open and go, and the teachers manual isn't much more than just a record of all the poetry that is completed. The student book isn't necessary, but I do like having it as the font is larger and the illustration is cute. It gives them something to follow along with. I liked the diverseness in the poetryselections and that they were varied in length--not a whole string of long poems one after another to learn. I also appreciated that the poems (that we have done so far at least) are rhyming. That makes memorization so much easier. I know it will change as we move on, but for now it makes learning the poems much faster.

I will add that although I haven't listened to the mp3's yet, everything from Andrew Pudewa and the IEW team is excellent and very thought provoking. I have heard the Nurturing Competent Communicators before and it is sooooo good! I highly recommend it to anyone. It really makes you re-evaluate what you should want from a Language Arts program in regards to your child's future as a "competent communicator".

Will we continue to use this product?
Oh yes. The boys are eager for a new poem as soon as they successfully recite their latest one. I plan on continuing to do this program even throughout the summer simply because it is so easy and they enjoy it so much.

Would I Recommend the Product?

Absolutely! The program is so easy to incorporate into your schedule and the poetry selections are easy enough for even the youngest student to learn. The poems are a wonderful mixture of silly and beautiful by some of the most famous poets like Ogden Nash, Robert Louis Stevenson and Christina Rossetti. And the selection later incorporate some speeches from famous people which are excellent for recitation. Not only are they strengthening their brain through memorization, learning language patterns, grammar cues, and expanding their vocabulary, but they are also learning how to speak articulately. Skills that will come in very handy, no matter what your future career. .

Want to Know More?

We reviewed the Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization curriculum from Institute for Excellence in Writing and we love it! Would you like to see how other families in our crew team used the product?
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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We have just enjoyed the poetry in this program very much, and look forward to continuing to add more poetry to our repertoire! IEW continues to supply us with high quality engaging products that our family just loves!
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