Learn a poem by heart…

Your teacher wants you to memorize poetry?

1. Learning by heart improves reading skills.

– You learn to notice punctuation marks. Those commas and periods mean it is time to stop, breathe, and send your eyes ahead to scan what is coming.
– You learn to notice the key words, so you can speak with the correct expression.
– You notice how phrasing creates meaning.
– You enlarge and enrich your vocabulary.

2. Learning by heart improves public-speaking skills.

– You learn to speak with confidence.
You learn how to stand with good posture.
You learn to enunciate words clearly and speak slowly enough that listeners can understand you.

3. Learning by heart improves memory skills.

– You will need to know many things by heart in life.
– Just like running laps gives your body practice for running a long-distance race, memorizing gives your brain practice at remembering.
Deeper understanding of problems in life comes from holding facts in your mind and coming up with new insights.

4. Learning by heart provides a rest from writing and reading.

– So much of school involves your eyes: reading the board, reading books, reading textbooks, reading assignments.
– So much of school also involves writing: taking notes and completing assignments.
– Memorizing gives students who are better at learning by listening a chance to shine.

5. Learning by heart develops listening skills.

– Memorizing requires listening to yourself: are you speaking clearly and at an appropriate pace?
– Reciting in a group requires listening to others so as to maintain an even pace.

6. Learning by heart develops an appreciation for language.

– Memorizing helps you become more aware of the rhythms of phrases and the sounds of words.
– It helps you understand the power of consonance and assonance and alliteration.
– It also helps develop knowledge of powerful words.

7. Learning by heart develops empathy.

– Reciting in a group develops an awareness of others.
– Reciting in a group creates a feeling of belonging.
– Memorizing the same poems as others develops a sense of belonging and shared culture.
– Memorizing takes time and so encourages a deeper understanding of some of the great themes of literature and life.
Memorizing enters the mind more deeply than reading and so can touch your heart more deeply.
Memorizing great poems helps you make connections with people of other times and in other places.

8. Learning by heart eases loneliness.

– Holding great poems in your heart can remind you that you are not alone in this world.
– Remembering those poems later on in life can give you hope.

9. Learning by heart helps you listen to the voice inside of yourself.

– Memorizing helps you pull your energy into your body and focus for an extended period of time.
It encourages you to feel the emotions inside of you but still have control of them.
It lets you shut out other people and gives you some private time.
Memorizing great poems encourages you to think great thoughts and come up with your own insights into life.

10. Learning by heart helps you become a person of great character.

– Great poems will surround you with beauty.
Filling your mind with beautiful and true thoughts will help you become a person who is truly great in this world. 

Great poems to memorize: HERE

 Read more…

Diffily, Deborah. “Revisiting Family Involvement: Perspectives of Teachers and Families.” (2001).
Fisher, Ryan, Sujey Romero, and Andy Shin. “Building Students’ Social Capital Onstage: Examining the Codman Academy-Huntington Theater Company Partnership.”
Hadaway, Nancy L., Sylvia M. Vardell, and Terrell A. Young. “Scaffolding oral language development through poetry for students learning English.” The Reading Teacher (2001): 796-806.
Kang, Nina. “The Lost Art of Memorizing Poetry.” The American Reader. Web. 7 Oct. 2014. <http://theamericanreader.com/the-lost-art-of-memorizing-poetry/>.
Snider, Justin. “Rote Memorization: Overrated or Underrated?.” Huffington Post Canada. 25 May 2011. Web. 7 Oct. 2014. <http://www.huffingtonpost.com/justin-snider/rote-memorization-testing_b_817170.html>.
Turner, Ellen RM. “Why You Should Memorize Poetry.” Dappled Things. Web. 7 Oct. 2014. <http://dappledthings.org/2536/why-you-should-memorize-poetry/>.

This page may be copied for use by schools if the following credit is provided:  ©2014 Sophie Rosen.