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July 12, 2004


UPDATE, OCTOBER 4: See also Joanne Jacobs and The City Journal "In Defense of Memorization" by Michael Knox Beran, to which Pete DaDalt kindly drew my attention. By the way, we haven't gotten round to memorizing any poems-- kindergarten and preschool have somehow displaced it. By the time I figure out how to raise children, mine will be grown! That's why tradition would be helpful; it's hard to roll your own. We had a 5-year-old visiting us Saturday while her parents were moving from one one house to another. She was able to read a phrase painted on our breakfast nook wall, "Faith, hope and love-- but the greatest of these is love," and it turns out her mother has taught her to read in about three months. That made me wonder whether we should teach our Amelia something formally. How about poems? She won't learn those at school. She already has learned most of "The Owl and the Pussycat". Her Grandma Rasmusen had the good idea of asking each of her grandchildren for a child-specific performance for her birthday in April-- for example, 1-year-old Benjamin's singing a song and Amelia's recitation of a poem.

So I put together a list of poems for children to memorize. Half of these are too long, and it may be the whole plan will dissipate, but I'll see what happens, and keep my eyes open for other good poems. So far I have the following

A Story (Unknown)
Chartless (Emily Dickinson)
Whistling (Jack Prelutsky)
Little Seeds (Else Minarik)
A Spike of Green (Barbara Baker)
Hiawatha's Childhood (Longfellow)
The Wonderful "One-Hoss Shay" (Oliver Wendell Holmes, Senior)
The Spider and the Fly (Mary Howitt)
Home (Edgar Guest)

Posted by erasmuse at July 12, 2004 11:11 AM

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I'd recommend Dr. Seuss -- most of his stories are essentially one big rhyme. I know both of my kids love most of his books (I just read "The Sleep Book" to them about 20 minutes ago - guaranteed to put them to sleep).

Posted by: Pete DaDalt at July 14, 2004 08:40 PM

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