Advertisement

Movie Mom

Movie Mom

Summer Activity for Kids: Memorize Poems

posted by Nell Minow

“Whose woods these are, I think I know….”  You know how I know?  My mother told me that would be a good poem to memorize when I was eight.  I still know it by heart.

One of the best things you can do for your children this summer is encourage them to memorize poetry.   Children’s minds are naturally open to memorization as any parent of a kid who loves dinosaurs or who can repeat verbatim some promise you made months ago knows only too well.  These days, many kids (and their parents) are so used to having all the information they could ever want immediately accessible via Google have given up on the mental exercise of memorizing.  But it is an excellent way to challenge their imaginations and a great family project.  Jean Kerr’s classic essay about her efforts to get her children to memorize poems is one of my very favorites.  And Salon has a marvelous piece by Laura Miller on a proposal by Britain’s education secretary Michael Gove to go back to some of the classic school assignments like memorizing poems.

Advertisement

“People associate it with fusty, old-fashioned teaching styles,” [homeschooler Leslie] Kauffman told me. “Memorizing anything is associated with rote learning, the mindless parroting of information under an authoritarian teaching style.” Perhaps that’s what Gove has in mind, but it doesn’t have to be that way. “If you want your child to appreciate beautiful writing,” she said, “then memorizing poetry is one way to do that. It’s not just exposing them to it, but actually getting them to take ownership of it.”

It stretches the brain, it expands the spirit, it connects the family, and for the rest of their lives, as they remember what they have learned, it gives your children something to do while waiting in line that is, unlike Angry Birds, soul-enriching.

Have you memorized a poem?  Which one?

YouTube Preview Image
Previous Posts

Tonight on PBS: A Capitol Fourth with Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, and KC and the Sunshine Band
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5IQqWgdF1z0[/youtube] Tune in tonight to watch A Capitol Fourth on PBS, featuring Barry Manilow, Hunter Hayes, KC and the Sunshine Band, Alabama, and Lang Lang, and hosted by Bradley Whitford. And ...

posted 12:00:57pm Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

Marvin Gaye Sings the Star Spangled Banner
Happy 4th of July! [vimeo]https://vimeo.com/34606761[/vimeo] ...

posted 8:38:56am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

The Declaration of Independence -- Happy 4th of July!
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ETroXvRFoKY ...

posted 7:00:25am Jul. 04, 2015 | read full post »

For the 4th of July: Singing Founding Fathers in "1776"
Happy Independence Day!  Every year, I recommend the rousing musical about the Declaration of Independence. "1776" makes the Founding Fathers vivid, human, and interesting characters, and is so involving that you almost forget that you already ...

posted 8:00:01am Jul. 03, 2015 | read full post »

Sesame Street's Maria Says Goodbye
Sonia Manzano has announced that she is leaving Sesame Street after 44 years.  She was 22 years old when she auditioned for the brand new series that would revolutionize children's programming. She became Maria, one of the first Latina ...

posted 1:20:21pm Jul. 02, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.