Monday, May 16, 2016

{Review} Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization - IEW

Have you ever read through Classical homeschooling recommendations or even other homeschooling blogs and wondered, "What's with all the memorization?" Honestly, I did for the longest time. Some how I knew it was vaguely useful, but with everything else one should squeeze into their school days I made the conscious decision to forego memorization.

Being relatively new to using products from Institute for Excellence in Writing, it has taken me a while to progress through all of the teacher geared presentations and really come to understand their philosophy. However after watching Andrew Pudewa talk about Nurturing Competent Communicators, I practically begged to be on the review for Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization.

Why Poetry Memorization?

The teacher guide of Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization has a lengthy introduction to detail the purpose of poetry memorization and how it helps students of all ages become more effective communicators. It boils down to this main thought: You can't get something out, if it isn't already there. Meaning, if the thoughts and linguistics aren't already in your student's mind, then they can't communicate those thoughts.

Poetry memorization provides high quality language with richness of meaning in a fun package. Children tend to memorize from their environment and if they aren't given quality models, they will naturally memorize randomly from their own world.

According to the introduction in the teacher guide, education methods changed to de-emphasize memorization around the time I was in school. I can attest that I did very little linguistic based memorization in school, however I do know all the jingles from TV shows & commercials of my childhood. And let's not even get started on still remembering all the words to apparently every single 80's pop song.

Linguistic Developement through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing

How the Program Works:
Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization uses the Talent Education Method primarily developed by Dr. Shinichi Suzuki.  All students, regardless of age, should begin with level one of the program. The poetry in the first level may seem a bit silly to older students, but it's fun and each student progresses at their own speed.

The program includes five levels of poetry, with the last focusing on speeches rather than traditional poetry. Each of the poems or speeches were chosen while keeping in mind the following aspects:
  • Humor and enjoyment
  • Vocabulary
  • Linguistic quality
  • Classic and cultural literacy
  • Character and message
The student is encouraged at the end of each level to include personal selections for memorization. Of course, any of the poems listed can be replaced with another of the teacher's choosing if a particular poem does not fit with your own values.

Each day the student and teacher are encouraged to use the included audio CDs to assist in reciting their current poems. During the first level, each poem learned to date should be recited daily. As the levels progress, a rotating schedule is created so that memorization of all poems is not lost.  While this sounds rather daunting, the teacher guide assures it actually becomes easier to memorize the more we do. And we've found that to be true!

Linguistic Developement through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing

What's Included:
For the purpose of the review, we received:
Teacher Guide (Spiral bound)
This book includes the extremely helpful introduction, a list of all poems for each level and the text of the poem, smaller copies of the student pages, and the appendices with biographies of the poetic authors and optional lesson enhancements to use with each poem.

Student Guide (downloadable eBook)
(We also received the printed Student Book, which is available separately from the set)
Includes a handy checklist / calendar for marking as poems have been memorized and suggestions for maintaining earlier levels of memorization. Then, of course, there is the poetry. Divided by level, each poem or speech is printed on it's own page with the majority of the level 1 and 2 poems including outline graphics appropriate for coloring if your student needs a way to keep busy.

Poetry CDs
The set comes with five CDs, one for each level, of poetry readings by Andrew Pudewa. The CDs are stored in a professional looking faux leather case with a bonus DVD of Andrew Pudewa's presentation on Nurturing Competent Communicators.  We also received the downloadable MP3 files for each CD through my IEW store account.

Audio MP3 Resources
The following MP3s are made available as downloadable files through an IEW store account as part of the set. (Several of which I already had heard and are what interested me in this product initially)
  • 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

Linguistic Developement through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing

How It Worked for Us:

Although I was entirely ready to commit to this new philosophy of memorization, I wanted to explain to Amber why after all these years of homeschooling I had decided she needed to begin memorizing poetry. I began stumbling through explaining a little about what I read in the teacher guide introduction and what I had learned from Nurturing Competent Communicators. Apparently I said enough of the right words in the right order, because Amber was intrigued more than I ever expected. She actually asked if she could simply read the the teacher guide introduction herself and then, to my utter amazement, asked to watch the included DVD.

In my desire to make this process meaningful to Amber, I failed to remember that at her heart Amber is a language person. She loves just about every aspect of learning languages, and if there is a way to make her a better communicator she is going to jump on it.

Linguistic Developement through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing

We downloaded the included MP3 files to be used on Amber's iPad and away she went with the product. Although the teacher is encouraged to recite with the child, I have a rather independent learner who prefers to work on her own quite often. Most of the poems Amber has eventually spoken aloud to me for accuracy checks, but she prefers to make her own determination of when to move on to the next poem.

It really has only taken a few minutes several times a day for Amber to progress nearly completely through the first level of poems. She pops on her earbuds to listen and recite while she does household chores, builds with her LEGOS, rests between other school subjects, calms herself before bedtime, and even occasionally during dedicated poetry memorization time.

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization from Institute for Excellence in Writing easily keeps Amber engaged and interested in continuing her poetry memorization. It will mostly likely take a couple of years for her to finish the entire product through level five, which may seem daunting. However the goal is not to simply complete all the levels, but to challenge her mind and advance her linguistic development. What a perfect product for us to use throughout Amber's high school years!

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Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization  IEW Review

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1 comment:

  1. We are so pleased with this program. I am glad you all enjoyed it too.
    Blessings, Dawn