Institute for Excellence in Writing: A Poetry Memorization Review

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

Even though, as a piano teacher, I completely understand the value of memorizing music, the strong-willed free spirit in me still cringes a bit when someone suggests there should be more memorization in education.  You can imagine my initial attitude when Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing came in the mail!  I enjoy poetry and want my children to appreciate it as well, but expecting them to memorize it seems rigid and too much, right?  After listening to one of IEW's founders, Andrew Pudewa, speak and then witnessing the enthusiasm and speed with which my children learned many of the poems, I am now convicted to maximize the amount of high quality language they digest on a daily basis including memorization!
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

Included in Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization is a Teacher book, 5 CDs in a nice brown CD book containing 96 poems and speeches read by Andrew Pudewa, a Nurturing Competent Communicators DVD, a Student downloadable ebook (perfect for printing and binding), and 7 audio mp3s containing hours of workshop presentations.   IEW does have a very generous photocopy policy allowing families to make copies of the Student pages. If you prefer not to print it yourself, you can also purchase the Student book (spiral bound) separately here.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
The program's design is very simple and easy to execute.  The poems are divided into 5 levels and all students, no matter the age, begin with Level One.  The Student book provides a copy of each poem and when combined with the CD reading, students can recite the poems along with the recording.  A poem is to be practiced every day until it is memorized.  Once a poem is mastered the student will move on to the next, but regularly recite the ones already learned.  After each level (section) of poems is mastered, it is recommended to have a graduation and celebration where all of the poems are recited.  While memorizing is the basic goal, the process of learning new content provides many opportunities for discussion of social, scientific, and historical significance.  The Teacher's Manual provides lesson enhancements such as author, geography and historical notes as well.  The exercise is simple, but the educational breadth is quite large and complex.

On the day this program arrived we were going to drive across town to do an errand and spend almost an hour in the car total.  I hadn't had a chance to really look at the program, but I grabbed the Poetry CDs along with a few others in hopes of keeping the kids occupied.  When I first turned it on I feared my 5 year old and almost 3 year old would tire of poetry being read by the same person pretty quickly (which was why I brought several alternatives as back-up).  Much to my surprise any time I suggested we change to something else, they begged to continue the poetry.  Not only did they enjoy it, but within a day or two we sat down to work on memorizing and they both already had the first two poems, Ooey Gooey and Celery mastered!  Regularly I would have them sit in the school room next to the CD player and go through CD while J followed along in the book.  This would occupy them for quite a while and made memorizing a breeze!

It is been studied and proven that children learn language much quicker than adults, but sometimes seeing it be so in your living room just convicts you all the more.  In addition to the Poetry Memorization program, I received access to a large amount of education and knowledge about teaching our children and students how to better communicate and understand language.  The Teacher's manual provides a wealth of preparation and understanding.  The DVD and 7 audio mp3s expound on that further.  The poetry and speeches contained are fun and a great resource for any classroom.  However, the understanding and motivation I've gained to broaden my children's language base now (while it is still so easy) is the main reason I would recommend investing in this program.

This is the first product of IEW that I've used, but if it is any indication I expect their entire line of educational material is worth investigating.  If you would like to keep up with on social media, follow these links:


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Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review
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