Poetry Memorization

by Deborah Taylor-Hough

Poetry memorization is a fun activity for kids and adults alike. With the advent of spring for many of our readers, I thought this seasonal poem about a favorite springtime flower would be an appropriate choice for memorizing this month.

What I do with poems that we’re going to learn is this: I put the poem into my word processing program (you can cut-and-paste it directly from this blog post, if you wish) and then I increase the font so that the poem takes up one entire typewritten page.

Then I print it out, slide the printed sheet of paper into a plastic page protector and hang it in a highly visible place in the house where the kids will see it regularly (i.e.: on the refrigerator, the classroom wall, or even in the bathroom!).

Several times each day, we’ll stop by the displayed poem and read it aloud together. After we’re done with memorizing a poem, I’ll place the poem and its plastic page protector into a three-ring binder to use with subsequent children.

It’s amazing how quickly you and your children will have an entire poem memorized with very little effort. And with a seasonal poem like this one, you could even recite it at a family gathering such as an upcoming Easter dinner. Impress Grandma — and make poetry memorization a fun-filled family event!

For Charlotte Mason’s thoughts on memorizing poetry, click here.

Here’s an excellent example of a poem to memorize:

by William Wordsworth

I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd, —
A host of golden daffodils
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Continuous as the stars that shine
And twinkle on the Milky Way,
They stretch in never-ending line
Along the margins of a bay:
Ten thousand saw I, at a glance,
Tossing their heads in sprightly dance.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee;
A poet could not but be gay
In such a jocund company;
I gazed — and gazed — but little thought
What wealth the show to me had brought.

For oft, when on my couch I lie,
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude;
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the daffodils.

These were our family’s two favorite poetry books when the kiddos were preschoolers.  The books are small, but the poetry choices are actually quite good.  Both are out-of-print now, but you can often find used copies online, and I’ve also seen them at thrift stores.


These were the two main books we used for elementary level poetry readings and memorization:



So, what do you think?

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