Schoolhouse Crew Review: Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization (IEW)
The Institute for Excellence in Writing has become pretty well known in homeschool circles. Over the last several years we have used a variety of products from IEW including: Teaching Writing With Structure and Style, Student Writing Intensive A and C, The Phonetic Zoo, Primary Arts of Language, Fix it! Grammar, and Medieval History-Based Writing Lessons. I also have listened to many of their teacher resources. I have loved every product we have used from IEW and continue to use them in my homeschool and recommend them to others. We have been having so much fun with our newest review, Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization , that I believe that this one is our absolute favorite!
Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization ($65) contains 96 poems and speeches split up into 5 different levels starting with shorter easier poems and increasing in difficulty as you move through the levels. It is for grades K and up with all students beginning with Level One. The course includes:
Spiral Bound 200 page Teacher's Manual
5 audio CDs
Ebook download of the 172 page student book
Bonus DVD of Andrew Pudewa's talk Nurturing Competent Communicators
7 Audio MP3's: Nurturing Competent Communicators, Mastery Learning, Ability Development, and Individualized Education, Ten Thousand Times and Then Begins Understanding, On Listening, On Speaking, On Reading, and On Writing
For review purposes, I also received a printed copy of the Student Book.
The Teacher's Manual begins with some very interesting information on the prerequisites for effective communication, why it is beneficial to memorize, and why we should memorize poetry. It goes on to talk about what mastery learning is and why modern learning fails to teach. Next you will find instructions on how to use the program. The Teacher's Manual also contains all of the poems: 19 poems in Levels 1,2,3, and 4 and 20 speeches in Level 5. you will also find suggestions for personal selections for each level, lesson enhancement suggestions for each selection, and biographies of all of the authors.
In the front cover of the Teacher's Manual there are directions for downloading your student books and free MP3's. The student books have lists and charts to help track which poem you are working on. There are illustrations for all the poems in Level One and some of the poems in the other levels for students to color if they wish. There are also completion certificates to fill out for each level. The author biographies are included in the student book. If you would rather have a printed copy of the Student Book, they can be purchased from IEW for $19.
I was really excited about finding something we could all work on together, but I wasn't sure how I was going to work it into our school day. I can tell you honestly that Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization has been the easiest curriculum I have ever used and it only takes minutes a day. So far we have memorized 7 poems and the children love it!
The first day we are learning a new poem, we listen to the audio CD playing all of the poems we have learned plus the new one we are learning. After listening to the CD we recite all of the poems we have learned. The children say the title of the poem, author, and the poem. Then we start working on the new poem. If it is a short one, I read it through several times and then have the children say it with me. If it is a long poem I read though the first stanza several times and then have the children say it with me. We do not move on to the next stanza until the first one has been committed to memory. This usually takes a couple of days of practice. The longest poem we have learned so far has been 4 stanzas. My youngest child using this curriculum is 5 and my oldest is 12. We only spend 15 minutes or so on poetry every morning.
The poems have been fun and easy to learn. We enjoy listening to Mr. Pudewa reciting the poems on the CD. I think it is funny when the children try to sound just like him. I was listening to a talk by Andrew Pudewa the other day and my 5 year old came in and said ,"Hey it's the Ooey Goey Guy!" (Ooey Gooey is the first poem you memorize.) The illustrations in the student book are adorable. The girls have enjoyed coloring them while listening to the poems. There are some fun lesson enhancement suggestions in the Teacher's Book. I love that you can use this with a wide range of ages and that it will last over the course of several years.
IEW has a generous copyright policy that allows you to make copies for as many children as you have in your family which is a HUGE blessing for families with multiple children like mine. It makes the cost of the curriculum even more affordable. IEW sent us the printed copy of the Student Book for this review and I wanted to mention that the printed, spiral bound student book is much nicer then my printed out, stapled together stacks of paper. Since this poetry course will be used over the course of several years, it may be worth the extra cost to order the printed out student book.
If you have never listened to the talk Nurturing Competent Communicators, you need to. It makes so much sense. Throughout this talk, Mr. Pudewa talks about the idea that, "You can't get something out of a child's brain that isn't in there to begin with." He discusses where children acquire their language database, why that is a problem, and what we need to do to correct it. Andrew Pudewa is an amazing speaker. He speaks as though he is speaking to you personally and adds bits of humor and other interesting information and stories to the topic he is speaking about. His talks are some of the best that I have heard and don't just apply to improving your homeschool but better preparing your children for their life. I know as busy moms we don't have a lot of spare time, but you can play the mP3's while cooking or cleaning. I have even listened to them while working out on the elliptical.
To see what my Crew Mates have to say, stop by the Crew Blog.