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Learning poetry by heart...

(16 Posts)
Hakluyt Thu 18-Dec-14 11:41:16

Among Ds's holiday homework are some poems to learn by heart. I think this is fantastic, but i appear to be alone among my friends in this view. I think that learning by heart is a useful skill, and anyway, as GCSEs are all going to be closed book exams from now on, they need to get into the habit of knowing quotations. Everyone else seems to thing it's a waste of time. Am I ridiculously outdated, or do I have a point?

summerends Thu 18-Dec-14 15:04:07

My DM can still recite several poems learnt in her schooldays which is great. I on the other hand must have only stored them in my short term memory so can't remember them. My DS's school have the tradition of a yearly own choice poem recited by heart to classmates (best then get selected for school competition). Other schools do that as well and I think it is a great idea.

ClashCityRocker Thu 18-Dec-14 15:06:26

I have quite a few poems committed to memory - some I learnt at school, some I just loved.

It's nice to be able to recite a poem of the top of your head - my dn still remembers me reciting the highwayman to her in bed when she was younger - she used to ask for it all the time.

ClashCityRocker Thu 18-Dec-14 15:07:07

That should be learned, shouldn't it? blush

Maybe if I spent more time actually learning, rather than memorising poems...

Inatizztoo Thu 18-Dec-14 15:09:17

I think it is a great skill to have, including standing up and performing to others.

Takver Thu 18-Dec-14 16:58:04

<shrugs> - here in Wales they start learning poetry by heart in reception, to recite at the school Eisteddfod. I think being able to stand up and recite well from memory is a great skill, which transfers over to other things they might need to do in later life (read in church, give a presentation for work, etc etc)

Takver Thu 18-Dec-14 16:59:10

Having said that, the disadvantage is that you have to sit through 30 children per class each reciting the same poem . . . (well, a different one for each school year, but still!)

Renniehorta Thu 18-Dec-14 18:11:00

As a recently retired person I am grateful for the knowledge that I learnt by heart as a child. I still have instant recall of times tables, French irregular verbs, Latin declensions etc etc.

I have studied many other things since but nothing is as firmly fixed in my mind. The learning of poetry is a great way of training the brain to memorise other things. It should be encouraged as much as possible. There is certain knowledge that needs to be memorised you cannot rely on looking everything up.

TheWordFactory Thu 18-Dec-14 18:21:07

DC's prep school had a yearly poetry recital where each class performed a poem.

Lovely grin.

Toadsrevisited Thu 18-Dec-14 18:26:03

There's a fab competition called Poetry By Heart thats been going for three years now. Info here www.poetrybyheart.org Encourage your school to get involved! My pupils have loved it.

Bonsoir Thu 18-Dec-14 18:31:52

DD (French school, Year 6) has learned an awful lot of poetry (and play roles) by heart over the years, in both French and English. TBH, it is a skill in which a lot of practice really makes perfect, and weekly learning/recital means that it is no longer any sort of chore.

Bonsoir Thu 18-Dec-14 18:33:33

Oh, and she's done Spanish since the beginning of Year 5 and has regular Spanish poems to learn by heart as well.

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Fri 19-Dec-14 11:45:40

I think it's a good skill to have. I do however sometimes wonder if I'd have room in my memory for where my keys are if it wasn't full of all the poems I lean red at school, all the lyrics, speeches, and the chunk of Aeniad Book V I had to learn off by heart for Latin O level (and all those odes too).

I do quite enjoy launching into 'make me a willow cabin at your gate...' whenever one of the DCs is studying Twelfth Night though. Mainly because they? Don't. grin

RabbitOfNegativeEuphoria Fri 19-Dec-14 11:46:06

LEARNED. Not lean red.

DeWee Sun 21-Dec-14 23:31:18

We learnt poetry a lot a primary. We were given a theme for the week and you got team points for finding a poem. Extra for learning by heart. Being a pot hunter, I often learnt them, and I can say most of them 30 years later, including some quite long ones.
There was an interhouse competition where everyone who wanted to learnt and performed a poem and got marks out of 10 for it. The best performed at our "Eisteddfod" (not in Wales).

"Heaven" by Rupert Brooke, is one of my favourites. I learnt it when I was 8 or 9 and didn't know what half the long words meant, but could appreciate the musicability of them.

My long-suffering family say I can recite a poem for every occasion. But i think it's something my dc have missed out on, and I think they find learning by heart harder for it.

wilbur Sun 21-Dec-14 23:36:06

I think learning poems by heart is lovely - I know a few and they have come in handy at bedtime sometimes with the dcs, a poem and a song instead of a story on the nights I couldn't face Smiley Shark again grin. BTW - what is a closed book exam? (GCSE ignoramus here)

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