Poetry Memorization for Linguistic Development ~Schoolhouse Review~

    Poetry has always been a favorite of mine. Recently i have been trying to find a way to introduce and encourage my kids (from littlest to biggest) to enjoy poetry as well. So I was really very excited when I saw that I had the chance to review the Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization program from Institute for Excellence in Writing (IEW) for review. Have I mentioned that we really love all things IEW!! 🙂


For our review we were given a teacher’s manual, a student book and the CD set which came with 96 poems/speeches in five levels.  These were in the book and also read on the CD. There were memory charts, biographies of poets and plenty of great instruction for how to use this program. It also included a complementary download of the Student book as an ebook, 7 MP3 downloads and a DVD of Andrew Pudewa’s Nurturing Competent Communicators, presentation.

Get a glimpse of some samples of all five levels of poems and speeches in this program on their website. 🙂


We are firm believers in this family that memorization is a great learning tool, and not just for the younger ones! Having had my kids in Bible Quizzing with our church for quite a few years now I can attest to how great memorization is for kids and how easily it helps them to learn SO many things!  Quickly too.


” Neurologically, memorization develops the brain in a way nothing else can. Neurons make connections through frequency, intensity, and duration of stimulation. When children memorize interesting poems, all three of these variables are involved in a powerful way, strengthening the network of neural connections that build the foundation of raw intelligence.”

It is said that memorization helps:

  • increase confidence in learning capabilities
  • gives a sense of accomplishment
  • increases memory and intelligence
  • a greater appreciation of poetry (thats the point of this one right?)
  • increase in poetry writing aptitude







The basic principles of this program are all very clearly and concisely outlined in the teacher’s manual; the idea though is for teacher and student to recite one poem together several times each day. It is recommended to begin with Level One regardless of age or ability.  Using the audio CD, together, we recite the title and author as well as the poem. Every day this poem is practiced together; some days and some poems that have multi stanza’s we may earn in sections adding to it as able, until the poem being recited flows easily. Without any struggles or hesitation. Its meant to be a natural flow.




Starting with Ooey Gooey (my little ones loved that!) we learned and recited this poem in one day. Now my kids all just love worms — I think that helped them to really get into this program too. Additionally, there are lesson enhancements within the teachers manual to help really go beyond the poem. In this instance we learned all about worms, What kinds of worms are there? Can they see and smell like we can? How do they move and what do they eat? There are tips for how to use each poem for a bit of study in science, writing, vocabulary, character, history — So many great lessons they include for every poem that is a part of this program in all levels too!  In one instance we studied Godfrey Gordon Gustavus Gore which encouraged exploration of Singapore! When learning the Whole Duty of Children we had a wonderful opportunity to discuss etiquette and good manners. And there are lots of opportunities to explore further the various literary forms used within these poems.




What does it mean, “They rigged out a shutter with sail and oar”? Personification, imagery, alliteration and similes – there is so much to learn within just one poem! I love how as my children and I were learning all of these amazing poems, one would stop and comment on how “crocodiles can’t grin” or gain a greater appreciation for our soldiers. My oldest son really got passionate about God and the Soldier; one of the enhancement activities was a discussion of why soldiers are adored in times of trouble and ignored in times of peace. The point of it all was not lost on my oldest son; in fact he has it in his head now to find a way to thank some of the veterans in our area with cards or perhaps even visits to show his admiration of them.  Maybe I am alone in this, but I have to admit, some of the lessons we have learned from these poems are so unexpected. At the end of each level, our kids get to choose their own personal selection and attach it (I had my son copy it) onto its own page. There is also a certificate for them, one for each level that they complete, of the Poetry Memorization program.



Did I mention all the good stuff in the appendix? This includes wonderful biographies of the authors we are reciting; my kids have enjoyed getting to know these authors in the brief biographies provided, as we recite all of the poems in this program. From well known writers like Sir Walter Scott and my personal favorite Robert Frost, to lesser known writers like Rose Fyleman and Hilarie Belloc. The bibliography also includes great recommendations for ongoing study like The Book of Virtues and A Treasury of the World’s Best Known Poems and one I am eager to locate for our library,  A Book of Nonsense.  



I truly cannot say enough how much we have enjoyed this; on how many different levels we are continuing to enjoy this. Honestly, I can see using this repeatedly through the years. In fact my oldest son already has plans to bring this out again when he starts his speech & debate class in the fall. From historical speeches like The Gettysburg Address, to the opening paragraph of A Tale of Two Cities, this is full of amazing material that our kids can enjoy and learn so much from again and again. I am so pleased to have had the opportunity to review this and consider IEW to be a great blessing to our family!



Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

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