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.

“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

Tribute: Leonard Nimoy
We mourn the loss of Leonard Nimoy, who created one of the most iconic characters of all time, "Star Trek's" half-Vulcan, half-human Mr. Spock, with pointed ears and angled eyebrows perfectly designed to convey a wry sense of irony.  The storylines of the original "Star Trek" were provocative polit

posted 12:00:09pm Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

New from Daniele Watts: Muted
Actress Daniele Watts stars as missing teenager Crystal Gladwell in Muted, winner of the 18th annual American Black Film Festival short film competition, showing on HBO throughout March 2015. Muted fol

posted 8:00:46am Feb. 28, 2015 | read full post »

Smile of the Week: Uptown Funk from Alex Boye and the Dancing Grannies
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/rjRlJvOxIY0?rel=0" frameborder="0"] "Uptown Funk," from Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars, is covered in a sensational new video from longtime Mormon Tabernacle Choir member Alex Boyé and back-up performers ranging in age from 65-92.

posted 9:16:46am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

Trailer: Like Sunday, Like Rain with Debra Messing and Leighton Meester
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/B28IHhaQXCE?rel=0" frameborder="0"]

posted 8:00:29am Feb. 27, 2015 | read full post »

List: The Best Movie Con Games and Grifters
In honor of this week's release of "Focus," here are some of my favorite movies about con games and grifters. Remember that "con" comes from "confidence." A con man (or woman) makes you believe in them and have confidence in their schemes. And cons make great movies. If you haven't seen these, crank

posted 3:45:21pm Feb. 26, 2015 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.