Why we memorize…………

by Edie Wadsworth on September 25, 2008

The following excerpt is taken from a paper by Andrew Pudewa called “Linguistic Development through Poetry Memorization”.  This part of our homeschool day where we memorize poems, scripture, catechisms, etc.  is one of my favorites.   It simply amazes me how much kids excel at memory work.   I’ve included a video of my girls reciting “The Creation” and I hope it inspires you  and your children to commit something beautiful to memory.

“Young children will naturally memorize language patterns from their cultural environment.  If teachers and parents don’t provide high quality models,  kids will automatically internalize and memorize random stuff from their environment–mainly TV advertisements and songs on the radio,  most of which we would not find to be ‘reliably correct and sophisticated’.   A child’s instinctive desire to memorize is intrinsic to language aquisition,  yet for the most part we ignore it,  or allow it to happen so haphazardly that we miss out on one of the greatest opportunities to build sophisticated language patterns.   Poetry has long served a critical role in the transmission of culture, as it tends to convey the “rhyme and reason”  of life in a concentrated and memorable form.   But is we don’t provide the content and opportunity for organized memorization,  kids will let popular culture be their teacher.  In other words,  if we don’t provide them with Bellox,  Stevenson,  and Rossetti, they’ll memorize McDonald’s commercials and Snoop Doggy Dog rap lines.   Memorization is not only natural for young children,   it is culturally powerful and educationally essential.”


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{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Amy B September 26, 2008 at 12:45 am

Andrew is an awesome teacher! Good stuff!

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2 jaxon September 26, 2008 at 3:00 am

Your girls are precious. I was just thinking the same thing today about how amazing kids memories are. This year we are focusing on poems by Robert Louis Stevenson and it’s one of my favorite things too. Thee boys love to recite poems for me and anyone who will listen. Great quote…very true. Thanks.

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3 Jessica September 26, 2008 at 3:06 am

Oops! Sorry Edie, the last one was me, I forgot I was logged in as my son. :) Good thing I came back to give one last comment. I know, I never shut up. But, don’t you just love how wiggly they are? It’s SO hard for the little ones to stay still when they’re reciting. I loved watching your girls scratch, wipe and wiggle…too cute! :)

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