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Sunday, July 22, 2007

How We Memorize

Our scripture verses
We use Explorer's Bible Study which I like because it is on grade level and utlizes all the features I want in a Bible study. Here's a model of what we do.

1 John 4:19 We love Him, because He first loved us.

I write this on our dry erase board because Camille is a visual learner, it stays written on the board until the end of the week. She is to say the verse 3 times daily like this.

1 John 4:19 We love Him, because He first loved us. 1 John 4:19

If she makes a mistake, she keeps saying it until she can speak clearly and without stumbling. She often corrects herself and says that she has to say it again since she stumbled over a word.

Now for the longer pieces, copywork has proven beneficial. When she learned The Lord's Prayer, I wrote it on big on a flipchart pad and we read it outloud every day and she did copywork two lines at a time.

  1. Our Father, which art in Heaven,
  2. Hallowed be thy Name.
  1. Thy Kingdom come.
  2. Thy will be done,
  1. in earth as it is in Heaven.
  2. Give us this day our daily bread.
  1. And forgive us our trespasses,
  2. As we forgive them that trespass against us.
  1. And lead us not into temptation;
  2. But deliver us from evil.
  1. For thine is the kingdom, The power, and the glory,
  2. For ever and ever. Amen.

Say the entire selection, then focus on the new material two lines at a time, repeat the new material 3x without stumbling and then repeat the entire selection. Each day, daily- no fuss, no muss. Use copywork, allow your child to illustrate the selection, act it out, anything that will help them.

Copywork worked best for us, we also tackled the Apostles' Creed, the hymns Gloria Patri and Praise God From All Blessings Flow in this manner. I used the cd My First Hymnal to help with the hymns. We sing these songs every Sunday in church, so we had that as reinforcement too. I have her say The Lord's Prayer at mealtimes instead of the short sing-song prayers most elementary students say as well. The only difficulty we have is that she tends to rush through it, I tell her she's talking to God and needs to slow down.

I will say this about scripture memorization, I don't believe just memorizing the scriptures really helps the child. Talking about what the scripture means, allowing it to become an active part of a child's life, that is what solidifies God's word in a child's life. Memorizing for memorization sake is empty without meaning, quality over quantity in this case. I have a goal of 34 scriptures a year to memorize but if we only internalize 5-10 scriptures a year- I'm THRILLED! Our goal is to internalize the scriptures the amount each child can successfully do that ranges from child to child.

Poetry memorization
For first grade, A Child's Garden of Verses by Robert Louis Stevenson is really all you need for age-appropriate poems to memorize. We used First Language Lessons by Jessie Wise and A Child's Garden of Verses.

We have taken a few different approaches with poetry.
  • Poetry copybook where the poem is typed and then divided by two lines with handwriting lines.
  • Required the poem to be copywork in its' entirety then use the poem as copywork two lines at a time.
  • Read the poem typed and illustrate what it means, learning the poem two lines at a time.
  • Listen to the poem 3x and recite back what is remembered.
What has worked best for us is that I type the poem out in its' entirety, reading the poem aloud and sometimes acting it out then have Camille recite the first two lines 3x, then repeating the entire poem to end. If I have the poem in audio, I will play it before I recite it fully and then use the audio in our review of memorized poems.

Again, internalizing the poem is what solidifies it, even with a kindergartner you can do a quick study of the poem.

  • What is the poem about?
  • What is happening in the poem?
  • What is the poet trying to tell the person reading the poem?
  • Is there any change that happens in the poem?
  • How does the poem make you feel?
  • What are the rhyming words in the poem?
  • How would you describe this poem?
  • What do you like about the poem?
  • What do you dislike about the poem?
  • Why are we memorizing this poem?
  • Are there any new words in the poem? What do they mean?
Again, I believe quality is better than quantity. A child has opinions, feelings, thoughts and even though they may not be on the same level or of the same experience as an adult, they want to be heard. I believe this is key to reaching your child's heart and maximizing the learning experience which will make an impact on a child.

In The Well-Trained Mind it is suggested to memorize history, math and science facts. I believe this a great tool for building pegs but again it has to built from a source of knowledge. In each grade, it is the teacher's decision what is important to memorize, I don't agree that memorizing a list of kings and rulers is vital. I see more value in memorizing key events and persons in the timeline of history. For this we use Veritas Press' History Cards and cds. The cards display a work of art (sculpture, painting, etc) of the time period and the cds "sing" through history verbalizing in song (rhyme and rhythm) the key points of a time period. It is quick and painless to do each day you study history and is portable! Of course, this is just our approach, you may find one that fits best for you.

In math, daily recitation of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division facts help but there also needs to be practice of these math facts, possibly even with manipulatives to solidify the knowledge. Why does 2 + 3= 5? Showing a child ∆∆ + ∆∆∆ = ∆∆∆∆∆ may help! I don't have an opinion about putting math facts to song or even learning them through a poem, whatever helps is good.

In science, use the very basis of what you're studying for memorization (again with explanation about the whys). In kindergarten memorize the colors of the rainbow, the seasons of the year, etc. but draw from what you are teaching by interacting with your child.

Facts are cold, lifeless words. It is up to the teacher to bring them to life, show your child their importance and their value. Keep the challenge of memorization growing as your child gains ground, increase the length of poems, the depth of basic facts (for example: Seasons of the year, then memorize which months traditionally fall into which seasons) and all the while share the beauty of the world and the knowledge of it.



Anonymous said...

I was just trying to figure out how much memorizing to do at one time! Do you do the poem and verses at the same time? I also like Madison (7) to do copywork. She seems to do a lot better with it. I so enjoy your blog. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

Tina Kay

Trivium Academy said...

Tina Kay,
I guess we do it all at once but it doesn't have to be and I don't treat it like a big deal, it's just something we do. I think that helps take pressure off Camille.

After Bible lessons in the morning, we do the scripture memorization. Then we do the poetry copywork and reciting. We put away our Bible book and then get out our poetry notebook. It's become second nature to us, after Bible we do our poetry work. The only exception is when we have poetry recitation in our First Language Lessons.

In fact we use two sources for poetry and Camille is memorizing two poems at a time. The copywork poetry is different than the poems in FLL. That isn't necessary but it works for us.

: )

Anonymous said...

Thank you, Jessica!
I think that it will be second nature to us as well. Once we get started. She always learns verses, but I was thinking she needed more. We will see. Thank you for your help.

Tina kay

Stacy (AussieinAmerica) said...

Hi Jessica,
Just wanted to say hello. I have been visiting but not commenting very much.
Hope you are having a great week.

Lisa said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa said...

My daughter does well with memorization. Right now she is memorizing Psalm 2, the Julio-Claudian Dynasty, and the 50 states and "Daffodils". I spend a few days reading them with her, making sure she notices the capitalization (showing new sentence) the puctuation, commas.. etc. Then I type them out and I say them on her little voice recorder. Then during quiet time she sits in her favorite spot and reads the memorization work while listening to me. Once she has it memorized, she writes it out for us to put it in her "writing section" of her notebook. This system works very well for Jade and my other children.. and of course me.

Amy Jane said...

How old was your daughter when you started this system of memorization?

Tiany said...

Great post, thanks so much for sharing this!!!

Jules said...

A quick question... When memorizing scripture, do you discuss it in context? Like you, I think the rote memorization of scripture without the meaning behind it is meaningless, and can be dangerous. When my children memorize scripture, I always read the verse in context for them, too. I was just wondering if you do the same.

Trivium Academy said...

Reading the scripture in context doesn't always work here because the concepts in the surrounding text may still be too difficult to understand. I am taking each scripture and doing this:

1. What does this scripture mean?
2. How does it apply to my life?
3. What does this scripture say about God?
4. What is the purpose in memorizing this scripture?

If there is meaningful context (for a 7yo) to be shared I do but I also want to treat scripture as God's Living Word. We will read and study the Bible in-depth as we progress in our studies but our focus for this year is to:

(More about this at-

1. Develop a better understanding of who God is and what the Bible says.
2. Encourage and Develop memorization: Memorize 34 scriptures
3. To discuss and facilitate ways to apply God's Word to our lives.

Jessica : )