Earlier this school year we had the opportunity to review our first ever product from the Institute for Excellence in Writing. I had heard of the company before, but hadn't ever had a chance to get any of their products. When Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization came available for review, I knew it would be perfect for our family, especially because we had enjoyed using Phonetic Zoo. I have heard about the importance of memorization, so the benefits of this program really intrigued me.
This Linguistic Development program focuses on memorizing poems (and later, speeches) one at a time in a cumulative manner. All of the memory selections needed for the entire course are in the included materials. The set we received comes with a Teacher Edition, a Student e-book, a set of 5 Poetry Memorization CD's (1 for each level), a DVD called Nurturing Competent Communicators, plus 7 free MP3 downloads:
- Nurturing Competent Communicators
- Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
- Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding
- On Listening
- On Speaking
- On Reading
- On Writing
Additionally, we were graciously sent a physical spiral-bound copy of the Student Book. Please note, this book is not included in the main set and has to be purchased separately.
The Nurturing Competent Communicators DVD is recommended to be viewed first and, in my opinion, it is a must watch! I have watched it twice and have gleaned such great information. It helps to explain why the course is designed the way it is. Some of the same information that is in the introduction of the Teacher Edition is included in Mr. Pudewa's presentation, but the way he explains it is so informative and yes, entertaining. He definitely held my attention. He goes into the reasons why the thought that "Good readers will naturally become good writers" is untrue. He looks at the sources of children's language acquisition and why none of them are sufficient for developing a good writer. Mr. Pudewa explains both the importance of reading aloud to your children and memorized language. Of course, memorized language is where Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization comes in.
Let's take a look at some of the things children will be memorizing with this program.
There are 4 levels of poems to be learned, after which the child moves on to speeches. We started out in Level 1. Below is the list of the poems learned in this level.
The poems are printed out in both the Student Book and the Teacher Edition; however, there are no pictures with the poems in the teacher book as there are in the student book. You will however find little thumbnail images of all the pages in the beginning of the section.
As we received one physical book, I chose to give it to Amelia to use as she hadn't had any review products for her recently. For the other children I printed out the poems from the PDF download and made them a book in a folder.
Here is a look at the inside of the Student Book.
And here is a look at the folder books we are making.
As you can see, the children have been coloring their pictures. In fact, they have been quite creative, adding in their own little imaginative details at times.
This is the way this mastery program is used:
We learn a poem, reciting it at least a few days a week (the more the better) until we really own it. Then we learn another poem. However, we don't forget about the poems we learned previously. We recite them all, every time we do our poetry recitation. On the first day the poem is introduced, we listen to all the previous poems on the CD during our story time and get to hear the new one. During our gathering time, we have memory time. After the children recite their Bible verses, we move on to poetry. I listen as the children take turns reciting all the poems they have learned so far. If it is the first day for a poem, they color the picture and I add it to the book.
The program comes with a little chart to mark when poetry was recited. We also highlight each new poem so the children can see which poems they are supposed to be reciting, not that they have ever forgotten yet.
The children have been doing a great job learning these poems. We have taken a little longer to learn the fifth poem because it has 4 stanzas which they get a bit mixed up at times. I may have to break it down a bit more for them, do a stanza at a time. Even Harold has been memorizing the poems.
Once we learn all the poems in the level, there is an opportunity to select a poem of choice. Then the children will earn a certificate.
If you would like to extend your children's learning, there are little tidbits of information in the sidebars of the teacher edition. Additionally, there is a biography section in both the teacher and student books which is listed alphabetically by last name of the poet. Each listing shares a little paragraph of information. Appendix 2 is a bibliography, which is also found in both books. However, the Teacher Edition alone has a third appendix titled, "Optional Lesson Enhancements." These suggestions move beyond Language Arts, giving ideas for extending the poems in the subjects of science, nutrition, social studies, geography, math, and manners (to name some of the subjects).
In a day and age where memorization has taken a back seat or been done away with entirely, it is wonderful to find a program that explains the importance of memorization and focuses on a fun way to build that "database" of the English language. The poetry selections have been fun to learn and just as fun to listen to the children recite. The children just love poor Ooey Gooey. They can get quite dramatic while reciting the poem. I have also enjoyed coming up with little motions to help them remember which line they are up to, like we do with our Bible memory verses occasionally.
I highly recommend this program from the Institute for Excellence in Writing to help your child get those linguistic skills developed and their brains growing. This program works well with all ages. As you can see, my preschooler is getting just as much out of this as my 2nd and 3rd graders. Older students will be able to work on harder levels, though they can easily start with the beginning levels as well.
Don't forget to click on the banner below to see what my fellow Crew Mates thought about this program: