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Developing Linguistic Patterns Through
Poetry Memorization –    Listen Now (260k mp3)

Memorized (or “by heart”) language was a mainstay of education for almost all of recorded history until about 60 years ago, when misguided educationists began to promulgate the idea that memorization, along with other types of rote learning, was harmful to children’s creativity, understanding, and enjoyment of learning. Sadly, as is obvious to any intelligent observer of our culture, children are lacking a consistent source of reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns.

Excellence in Writing comes alongside to provide a tool to reintroduce you and your children to a vital but often neglected source of powerful and sophisticated linguistic patterning available to children: memorized language, especially memorized poetry.

Although memorizing and reciting daily so many poems may at first seem like a daunting project which will require large amounts of time, consider a few points:

  1. Given the huge benefits of memorizing poetry, it may well be one of the best uses of your available school hours.
  2. Recitation of memorized poems can easily be done away from a desk—perhaps in the car, while cooking or folding clothes, during a walk, etc.
  3. Memorizing new poems gets easier in direct proportion to the number of poems already memorized; in other words the more you have learned, the faster you can learn more.
  4. The Audio CD recordings will help you use repetition so that students can memorize poems more quickly and accurately; you don't have to do it all yourself. So, although it may seem like a huge undertaking, give this system a try, and read the introduction to this book as often as needed to be reminded of the importance of memorized poetry.

This new teaching tool includes a workbook containing over 75 complete poems with speech and soliloquy recommendations plus all the poems read on CD for ease of memorization. Instructions, memory charts and certificates, and poet biographies are included in the workbook. If you get the audio CDs, you will also receive a bonus DVD of Andrew Pudewa’s conference talk, “Nurturing Competent Communicators.”

If you are looking for a text providing the classical fundamentals of poetry (including tropes, meter, and scanning) Matt Whitling provides examples and exercises in The Grammar of Poetry.

“This past summer, I purchased the poetry program that Mr. Pudewa created.  After reviewing the course, I determined that my five children would follow this course with me tagging along with them.  I also figured that if this program worked with poetry - why couldn't I use it with scriptures in the same way?

Well, we began memorizing scriptures and poetry in the beginning of September and now, at the end of December, we have successfully completed Level one of the poetry course along with approximately 34 scriptures.

I have enjoyed it immensely!  While some of my older children have grumbled some along the way, we have had quite a bit of laughing with it too.  I have also used it to help them practice public speaking.

Each morning, after devotions, we practice our scripture memorization along with our poetry memorization.  I'm pleased to say that I have done it right along with my children. It is true that the more you memorize the easier it gets.

Thank You, Andrew!  Hats off to you.  I am looking forward to realizing the greater importance of this program, which is not the memorization in itself, but in developing a more sophisticated linguistic database for my children to have stored in their brain.”

—Kimberly in Ohio

More Testimonies...

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Sample Poems   Listen Now (260k mp3)


The Ingenious Little Old Man  by John Bennett

A little old man of the sea
Went out in a boat for a sail:
The water came in
Almost up to his chin
And he had nothing with which to bail.

But this little old man of the sea
Just drew out his jack-knife so stout,
And a hole with its blade
In the bottom he made,
So that all of the water ran out 


The Duke of Plaza-Toro  by W.S. Gilbert

In enterprise of martial kind,
When there was any fighting,
He led his regiment from behind—
He found it less exciting.

But when away his regiment ran,
His place was at the fore, O—
That celebrated,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro! 

In the first and foremost flight, ha, ha!
You always found that knight, ha, ha!
That celebrated,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro! 

When, to evade Destruction’s hand,
To hide they all proceeded,
No soldier in that gallant band
Hid half as well as he did. 

He lay concealed throughout the war,
And so preserved his gore, O!
That unaffected,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro! 

In every doughty deed, ha, ha!
He always took the lead, ha, ha!
That unaffected,
The Duke of Plaza-Toro!



Solitude by Ella Wheeler Wilcox

 Laugh, and the world laughs with you;
  Weep, and you weep alone;

For the sad old earth must borrow its mirth,
   But has trouble enough of its own.

Sing, and the hills will answer;
   Sigh, it is lost on the air;

The echoes bound to a joyful sound,
   But shrink from voicing care.

Rejoice, and men will seek you;
   Grieve, and they turn and go;

They want full measure of all your pleasure,
   But they do not need your woe.

Be glad, and your friends are many;
      Be sad, and you lose them all–

There are none to decline your nectared wine,
      But alone you must drink life’s gall.

Feast, and your halls are crowded;
      Fast, and the world goes by.

Succeed and give, and it helps you live,
      But no man can help you die.

There is room in the halls of pleasure
      For a large and lordly train,

But one by one we must all file on
      Through the narrow aisles of pain.



The Choir Invisible  by George Eliot

 O, may I join the choir invisible
Of those immortal dead who live again
In minds made better by their presence; live
In pulses stirred to generosity,
In deeds of daring rectitude, in scorn
Of miserable aims that end with self,
In thoughts sublime that pierce the night like stars,
And with their mild persistence urge men’s minds
To vaster issues….

May I reach
That purest heaven—be to other souls
The cup of strength in some great agony,
Enkindle generous ardor, feed pure love,
Beget the smiles that have no cruelty,
Be the sweet presence of good diffused,
And in diffusion ever more intense!
So shall I join the choir invisible,
Whose music is the gladness of the world.


The Poetry has been such a blessing to us! My boys are 8 and 10. The morning I announced that we were going to memorize poetry their eyes rolled back in their heads. Then I read Ouey Goey with all the emotion I could muster. They pealed with laughter, memorized the poem and made parodies of it ALL day (Ouey Gouey was a bug...the windshield he did not see).

We find times that the perfect poem comes to us in some other context. I'll never forget the day we were in a hardware store. There was a display of stuffed (realistic) birds. My 8 year old picked up a Californian Condor, flapped its wings as he walked about the store and in his best gravelly voice recited "The Vulture" by Hillaire Belloc.

I am so glad I discovered this while my boys are young. They will grow into better men with this education. Every day I am more convinced that Andrew is so right about reading out loud and mastery memorization.

What an incredible blessing.

-Kathleen in Illinois

We started the new poetry program this week and have covered the first two poems. Since Celery was written by Ogden Nash I decided to read some other poems by Nash. Now my children (ages 5-17!) are running around repeating those poems over and over. The next thing I know they will be demonstrating reliably correct and sophisticated language patterns! What's a mother to do!?

-Suzanne in OK

We bought this product over the weekend at a convention. It is for all ages. There are levels of poetry that the children progress
through. It is recommended that all children, regardless of age, start with level one. The accompanying CD provides a good reading of the poem that the child can listen to for the facilitation of memorization. The approach is the "Suzuki method," or practice the same piece over and over until it is memorized then move on to the next piece but continue to practice the first.....and so on. The book provides you with a chart that the child can keep track of their practice of the poem. This is helpful because as the child moves through the program, they will be practicing several poems each day. The chart helps them keep track of what they need to do and when they need to do it (the book explains this clearly).

My children have been memorizing poetry for years. I cannot express how enjoyable this practice has been. We started out with poetry that I could find recorded, but finding a well read piece can be difficult. If you have listened to audio books before, the reader can make all the difference!

I highly recommend this program to get you started. My 9 year old boy who loves poetry and has memorized many (he has a good bit of "Paul Revere's Ride" memorized) took to Level One immediately. It starts with "Ooey Gooey" author unknown (although my children speculated that the author could be "by not Me"). Yes, this is a poem that is very appealing to a little boy! He joyfully shared the verse with his father as soon as he got home that night. Giggles abounded as we listen to the Level One poems and I think that is the point. Every time I read a poem like "Paul Revere's" Ride or "The Highwayman" I get the chills; they touch me deeply. But poetry can be fun too.

I would like to find recorded versions of great documents for the children to memorize too!


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