Poems to Learn by Heart


This is one of the poetry books that we end up opening again and again. It has poetry divided into sections- self, family, friendship and love, school, and fairies!. There are many old favorites as well as a few I wasn’t familiar with. All the illustrations are beautifully done, and my kids love this book.

We especially like Song of the Ogres by WH Auden. There is a hilarious recitation on YouTube:

Even if these are not learned by heart, they are worth reading to kids. The author gives her reasons for memorization here:

“In today’s world, where it is so easy to look things up, we discount the value of memorization. For example, kids don’t see the point of learning multiplication tables when they have a calculator. But it makes us feel empowered to know that we have the knowledge to solve a problem, rather than having to depend on a device to do the work for us. It’s the same with words. Poets distill life’s lessons into the fewest possible words. But those tiny packages of thought contain worlds or images and experiences and feeling.”-Caroline Kennedy

I feel like she is very in tune with the goals of classical education. Right now Declan is working on memorizing Paul Revere’s Ride.

We own Poems to Learn by Heart by Caroline Kennedy and use it in our homeschool.