Sunday, August 7, 2011

Poetry Speaks: Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

The memorization of the girls' second long poem was a long time in coming. Unlike the process of memorizing "A Visit from St. Nicholas," which they probably could have listened to eight times a day for the entire Christmas season, the girls got tired of listening to "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening," by Robert Frost, before they had it memorized, so we set it aside for a good, long while.

I imagine that another factor is the fact that "A Visit from St. Nicholas" is available at our library in a dozen different copies with different illustrators, so that each repetition had new aspects, and I was even able to download a coloring book version of "A Visit from St. Nicholas" so that the girls could make their own book. Our library only had one picture book of "Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening" for us to work with, unfortunately, so eventually it got a little old and we dropped it.

I keep checking the book out, however, and recently it occurred to me that Willow absolutely, and Sydney to a lesser extent, really have the poem almost memorized, so I brought the book back out and suggested that if they worked to read it over just a few more times, they could probably finish learning it by heart and be ready to recite it.

Syd got frustrated and dropped the project after one try (which is fine--the poem will always be there), but Will happily took up the challenge:

Rote memorization is good for our brains, but--and this is super cheesy, so get ready--that's not really why I want my girls to memorize poetry. Poetry connects us all on an emotional level, allowing us a shared outlet for feelings that we all may own, but rarely have the sophistication to voice. Because of that, to memorize a poem isn't just to know it in your mind, but also to hold it in your heart. Poems are big things for little girls to hold in their hearts, but out of all of the lifetime's worth of things, both good and bad, that will eventually reside there, their hearts will always be the better for being tempered by a heavy dose of poetry.

Our version of the poem:

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