“…Keep your eye upon words and wait to feel their force and beauty; and, when words are so fit that no other words can be put in their places, so few that none can be left out without spoiling the sense, and so fresh and musical that they delight you, then you may be sure that you are reading Literature, whether in prose or poetry.”
Studying one poet per 12-week term allows the child to really get to know the style of a particular poet and form an opinion of his or her works. They should be allowed to read and enjoy the poems rather than analyzing and dissecting them. They should choose at least one poem to commit to memory and copy as many as they like into a poetry notebook or in their copywork notebook, one or two lines at a time.
Here is some interesting insight Miss Mason has on memorizing poems. I have found this to be true with my own children. When they were little I would read and record poems and burn them to a CD which we would listen to while driving around in the car. When my son was 3 1/2 he could recite the entire poem of The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost from memory.
“Recitation and committing to memory are not necessarily the same thing, and it is well to store a child’s memory with a good deal of poetry, learnt without labour. Some years ago I chanced to visit a house, the mistress of which had educational notions of her own, upon which she was bringing up a niece. She presented me with a large foolscap sheet written all over with the titles of poems, some of them long and difficult: Tintern Abbey, for example. She told me that her niece could repeat to me any of those poems that I liked to ask for, and that she had never learnt a single verse by heart in her life. The girl did repeat several of the poems on the list, quite beautifully and without hesitation; and then the lady unfolded her secret. She thought she had made a discovery, and I thought so too. She read a poem through to E.; then the next day, while the little girl was making a doll’s frock, perhaps, she read it again; once again the next day, while E.’s hair was being brushed. She got in about six or more readings, according to the length of the poem, at odd and unexpected times, and in the end E. could say the poem which she had not learned.”
A poetry notebook can be a treasure for years to come. My children love to copy poems as well as write their own poetry. Miss Mason said, “…Certain sense of possession and delight may be added to this exercise if children are allowed to choose for transcription their favourite verse in one poem and another. This is better than to write a favourite poem, an exercise which stales on the little people before it is finished. But a book of their own, made up of their own chosen verses, should give them pleasure.”
Here is Ambleside Online’s Poetry Schedule.