Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization by Institute for Excellence in Writing ~ A Schoolhouse Crew Review

Poetry is one of those things that my kids have always begged me to skip over. They think it's boring and they don't understand why we have to even read it. I have always enjoyed poetry, so it kind of saddened me that my kids weren't into it. Throw in the word memorization with poetry and my kids looked at me like I was nuts. I have also always thought that memorization was important in learning. When I found out that I had an opportunity to review Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization by Institute for Excellence in Writing I knew I had to at least give it a shot.

I have heard nothing but absolutely wonderful things about IEW. We have never had the chance to use any of their products so I was beyond excited to try this even if my kids didn't like poetry. I knew if any curriculum could change their mind. it would be IEW. Andrew Pudewa, the author and creator of this program, is also the principal speaker and director of IEW. He addresses issues related to writing, speaking, thinking, spelling, music, and education.

What we received for this review:

The set includes:
  • Teacher's Manual (spiral bound)- This has a wonderful Introduction on why memorization is important, why poetry is used, and of course instructions on how to teach this wonderful program. I love that in the back of the book they have included lesson enhancements. This way you can take the poems and expand them to other areas of study such as science or even math. Also included are the 96 poems and speeches that your child will have the opportunity to memorize.
  • Student Book PDF as an e-book download 
  • 5 CD's in which Andrew Pudewa recites the poems and speeches. This helps tremendously with accuracy and pronunciation of words and especially the author names. 
  • DVD of Andrew Pudewa's workshop called Nurturing Competent Communicators. This DVD was informative on why we should teach our children poetry and how it can impact them on many levels. I plan on listening to it again because it was so good!
  • 7 MP3's that include: 
                      1. Nurturing Competent Communicators (the audio of the DVD)
                      2. Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education
                      3. Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding
                      4. On Listening
                      5. On Speaking
                      6. On Reading
                      7. On Writing

We were also generously given a physical copy of the Student Book, which is also spiral bound, to go along with this program. You can purchase it separately if you think you need it.

As a homeschooling mom of 3 on a budget, I feel that I need to mention exactly how generous IEW is. They will allow families to photocopy the student materials. That is especially wonderful when you have a fantastic program that works for all ages of students or even adults! They can each have their own copy to study, and it won't break the bank!

If you would like to see samples of the poems, teacher book, student book, and an audio sample, you can go here. Just scroll down and you can find it easily.

How did we use this program?

We actually ended up having a lot of fun with this. After my kids were all, "Poeeeetrryyyy noooooo!" they ended up wanting to recite their poems several times a day because they enjoyed it. I think the fact that Ooey Gooey was their first poem helped a lot. Even the older 2 laughed at this one because we had heard of it before and it's silly.

The way it works is the poems are broken down into levels One through 5. Level 5 will be the speeches. You don't have to rush to get to level 5. It may take a couple of years to get to that point. The students will start with Level One even if they are older. It may not take them as long to memorize the shorter poems, but the practice prepares them for the longer poems and speeches that they will come to. One of the things that I love about this program is that the student is able to move through it at their own pace, or you can do it all as a whole and move forward together. It's versatile and up to the teacher.

After Level One is completed, Mr. Pudewa recommends a graduation party of some sort. Just a way to celebrate their accomplishment. We are excited about doing this! Next, they will move on to level 2 and they will recite Level One poems on an every other poem every other day schedule. This way they won't forget them while moving on. So on with the next Levels 3 and 4. Once they have mastered the first 80 poems, they will move on to the Level 5 speeches.

This isn't just about memorizing, and the poems can easily be a gateway for more learning. If the child comes to a word that they do not know, it's the perfect opportunity to research this word more. Some of the poems are historical and can open doors to talk about those time periods.

We would work on our poetry memorization in the mornings as one of our first subjects. We would read the poem aloud, and then listen to Mr. Pudewa read it on the CD. We would read it a few more times, and then go over anything that we needed to. It's fairly simple to do. I would have the kids recite it each until they remembered it. We would recite it in the car, or for their dad, and it ended up they were saying them several times a day on their own.

Here's a sample of what we are working on.

What did we think?

We love it just as I thought we would! IEW definitely lived up to all of the great things that I've heard about them! My kids, who despised poetry of all sorts, now enjoy it. We are having a lot of fun memorizing the poems, and I love that they surprise themselves with their accomplishments. I am so excited about continuing this program until they have reached all the way to Level 5. If you are an IEW fan, or even if you've never heard of it, I highly suggest Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization. It will be a great asset to any child's education!

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