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Worthy Words: Poetry Recital

Join us for our school poetry recital at 8:45 am on Wednesday, March 6, in the Auditorium. All grade levels will recite poems!

The angel paused in his downward flight
With seeds of love and truth and light;
And said, “Oh, where shall this seed be sown,
That it yield most fruit when fully grown?”
The Savior paused and said as He smiled,
“Place it for me in the heart of a child.”

Marjorie Parker, Bread From My Oven

You are most cordially invited to join us for our poetry recital on March 6! Perhaps you have already helped your younger students to memorize and practice reciting their poems. You may have witnessed their effort to learn not only the words, but also their delight when they succeed in memorizing!

Charlotte Mason believed that children should read aloud every day, and that those readings “should include a good deal of poetry, to accustom him to the delicate rendering of shades of meaning, and especially to make him aware that words are beautiful in themselves, that they are a source of pleasure, and are worthy of our honour; and that a beautiful word deserves to be beautifully said, with a certain roundness of tone and precision of utterance” (volume 1, p 227). 

At Redeemer School, we begin by guiding the emerging reader and writer to listen attentively to rich language through reading aloud from living books and poems. In these early years, poems are often put to music and shared generously throughout the school day. As writing skills develop, students respond to poetry in verses of their own. We encourage poetry appreciation from transitional kindergarten right up to 8th grade. Young minds delight in the rhythm, emotion and musicality of poetry, and they naturally gravitate toward poetic writing.

As students grow as readers and writers, so does their appreciation of poetry, giving opportunities to experience and develop a sense for a historical person, place, and time period. We use poems in our distinctive practices (nature journaling, narration, copywork and dictation) to help students explore beautiful language in new ways. By middle school, students encounter challenging poetry with confidence and curiosity.

Grade levels focus on the works of a poet each year—for example, Christina Rossetti in Kindergarten, Emily Dickinson in Second Grade, Wendell Berry in Fifth Grade, and Langston Hughes in Eighth Grade. Studying one poet over time allows the students to become familiar with that poet’s style, forming a personal relationship with the poet and her work.

The study of poetry is not focused on analyzing and dissecting poems, but rather enjoying the beauty of well-written words and allowing the child to “inwardly digest” (Ourselves, Book 2, pp. 71-72) them. What they digest in this way becomes a part of them, and the poets become friends, beckoning the children to visit again and again. The beautiful language and the seeds of truth gleaned from time with the poets are stored within their memories, and who knows when these words might prove necessary for a child to understand self or the world? 

Further Reading:

The Promise of Poetry by Amber Johnston (Charlotte Mason Poetry Online)

More thoughts from Charlotte Mason on poetry and recitation:

The child should speak beautiful thoughts so beautifully, with such delicate rendering of each nuance of meaning, that he becomes to the listener the interpreter of the author’s thought.

Vol. 1, p. 223

It is a delightful thing to have the memory stored with beautiful, comforting, and inspiring passages, and we cannot tell when and how this manner of seed may spring up, grow, and bear fruit

Vol. 1, p. 253

As a fact, the books which make us think, the poems which we ponder, the lives of men which we consider, are of more use to us than volumes of good counsel.

Vol. 4, Book 1, p. 184

Poetry is a criticism of life; so it is, both a criticism and an inspiration; and most of us carry in our minds tags of verse which shape our conduct more than we know …

Vol. 4, Book 2, p. 10

“We perceive that the Son of Man is a poet.  Is there a poem in all the world that so fulfills all the functions of poetry, which is so full of sweetness, refreshment, rest, illuminations, expansion, as that poem which bids us,

‘consider the lilies of the field…’?

All the poets see and know, but He (Christ) sees and knows with unbounded vision all the past, all the present, all the future and all issues of life.  

How could our Lord not be a Poet?”

The Parents’ Review, 1898, pp. 46-54