The national curriculum wants children to learn poems by heart. Having recently done a great poetry lesson, where the children had so much fun trying to learn ‘Tomcat’ by Don Marquis, it got me thinking about the immense benefits of such an activity. Read on to find out five ways children can benefit from learning poetry by heart.
Increases brain’s capacity
Although memorising lines of poetry may not feel particularly necessary, according to research, it’s an important task for training your brain to remember things. This type of memorisation task exercises your brain, giving it strength to retain more information. Memorising some passages or poetry over time, is a very effective way to make your brain more receptive to remembering.
Repeating the same nursery rhymes over and over again to young children, offers memorisation by repetition from an early age. As parents and teachers recite rhymes, children begin to learn rhythmic patterns and start developing a deeper understanding of the language.
Helps with focus
As pupils spend time memorising poetry, they learn to find focus. Educators have found that pupils who were required to memorise nursery rhymes from an early age, often go on to have more capacity to focus on educational tasks in high school and college.
Strengthens the brain
Just like when you work out in the gym, consistent and challenging exercise is the key to keeping your brain fit and healthy. Research shows that challenging your brain to memorise, can be a very useful and easy way to stay mentally healthy as a child and later on as an adult.
Helps children express themselves
Reciting poetry, gives pupils the freedom to express feelings to an audience. It is a form of expression through words and emotion, to convey a message which can take on different forms. In poetry recitations, not only are the words used to give a certain meaning to the poem, but the voice, volume, pitch, pauses and speed used, contributes to the entire experience as well. Through this vocal experimentation, children are given the opportunity to express themselves better through language.
How do you feel about children learning poems by heart? Could it just be nothing more that repeating words, turning children into mindless robots?
Please leave a comment below with your thoughts.
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Till next time…
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
That’s interesting that poetry can work out your brain, as you would at the gym with your body. That sounds like a good way to make yourself smarter. I’ll have to consider getting some poetry for my kids.
Try Michael Rosen, kids love his poems!
Reading this article makes me want to teach kids how to appreciate reading poetry.
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Thank you for your message! I’m so happy that this article has sparked a love for teaching poetry!
I just stumbled across your entry while looking for the “Poetry by Heart” logo for my own little poetry project which I’m doing with a group of 18-year-olds… each of them is invited to recite a poem in front of their classmates and tell the story behind it – in their very personal interpretation. So far we’ve had only one recital, but it has already sparked a lot of interest. We’ll have another one tomorrow and lots more throughout the next few weeks. I am trying to send them off with at least one poem that they can recite in English 🙂 I am convinced, just like you, that learning poems by heart holds a myriad of benefits for children, but also teens and everybody else, really. Thank you for your post!
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