I'm so excited to share one of my favorite companies and curricula with you today. Institute for Excellence in Writing sent me their newly revised Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization for review.
What is it?
5 levels of poetry memorization with a formula on how to memorize and retain what students learn over the course by scheduling recitation of previous pieces.
This set includes:
- Teacher's manual - A spiral bound book, that has all the poems in it and includes appendixes which have all the biographies and additional information.
- Student E - Book -PDF- This includes all of the poems, check off schedule sheet and certificates (given after completing levels.) * For this review I received a spiral bound copy of the student book - which you can purchase separately if you prefer a physical copy.
- A CD case with 5 discs (one for each level of the course). On each disc Andrew Pudewa reads the poems for the students.
- DVD of one of Andrew Pudewa's lectures - Nurturing Competent Communicators.
- 7 mp3 lectures - Mastering Learning, On Listening, On Reading, On Writing, On Speaking, Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding & Nurturing Competent Communicators.
Let's talk about the DVD first. If you've never heard Mr. Pudewa speak before you are really missing out. I first encountered him several years ago at my first homeschooling event. He is a masterful speaker and has a great grasp for kids and the way they learn. Through his life experience he created IEW and his famous writing courses.
Our family completed the writing program a few years ago with great success. This lecture is one of the reasons why I was so compelled to purchase the writing and poetry all those years ago. Having all boys I knew I needed something to engage my children and give them success. I highly recommend- if you have the opportunity - listening to a few of his lectures, especially Nurturing Competent Communicators.
Now to the Poetry course. We own the previous version but this new updated version has totally wowed me! First off there are coloring sheets for each of the poems. Having something for busy hands to work with while reciting is a great addition. Both of my older boys LOVED THIS! I feel like this is a nice set with the teacher's manual and E-workbook. IEW has a generous copyright and allows for families to print within their own personal use so I was able to make copies for all the kids in my house of the student portions. Which brings me to my next point!
We used this with 3 levels of learning in our house. Kindergarten, middle school (8th) and high school (10th). I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that! What fun it was to have a time to all sit around and learn together. You know what? The kindergartener had equal success memorizing and held his own with his older brothers! I know many families like to combine learning and this is an easy subject to do that with. It takes just a bit of time each day, just about 20 minutes when introducing the new poem and coloring then maybe 5-10 minutes each day to maintain.
I'm not so eloquent in how I'll explain this - pretty sure I learned this in one of Pudewa's lectures - but our brain is programed for patterns and by memorizing poetry and scripture we are making our kids subconsciously better writers. It also exposes them to rhyme and rhythm with words and a larger vocabulary. All around this improves their communication skills.
As I stated above all the kids did this program together. I would have them gather around and color the new sheet each week. During that time we took turns reciting the previous poem. We repeated the new poem together. For us a poem a week worked well. Through out the week the kids recited what they learned for maintenance. The program has a schedule so that when you have a bunch memorized you go on a rotation to keep the memory. This is based off the Suzuki Method Andrew Pudewa used when learning violin.
Seems silly but I have a few *MOMENTS* to share.
The first was a moment when my 5 year old came up to me and said, "Hey that's a worm, Ooey Gooey was a worm."
Ooey Gooey was the first poem we memorized and a favorite! He made the connection.
Another time 5 year old drew Ooey Gooey while doodling.
Last, we were at our nursing home and all the kids were sharing their talents. They all sing and several play piano. We have a violinist solo and another child recited a poem. Then my five year old - who is the youngest of the group- decided to recite Ooey Gooey and Celery (the second poem). Made this Mama's heart swell.
I think you can tell by now I'm loving this whole program. I love having something we do together as a group and I love the results. I love the updates to the set and the coloring pages. Most of all I love the joy on my kids face as we start our new poems and they see the silliness. Of course not all are silly but the first 5 have been. As we progress they will learn poems like The Touch of the Master's Hand and The Gettysburg Address. There are shorter and longer selections for all levels. You only need to purchase this program once per family and will have 5 levels of study to pace as you please. For us that is just going to continue to be a weekly thing during our school year.
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