Poetry for Beginners

“A man should hear a little music, read a little poetry, and see a fine picture every day of his life, in order that worldly cares may not obliterate the sense of the beautiful which God has implanted in the human soul.”  
~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

             

Theory The Poetry for Beginners Series
Analysis & Imitation What to Buy
Practice (Writing Projects) Frequently Asked Questions

We at Classical Writing believe, as did the ancients, that the study and appreciation of poetry is a vital part of a student's education. In fact, much of early fiction and mythology was written in poetic form.  In order to be truly educated, students need to be able to read and understand Homer, Dante, Spenser, Milton, and Wordsworth by the time they graduate from high school. Like many of the arts of writing, poetry has been sadly neglected in modern times, and we seek to remedy that with our poetry courses. 

In addition to the formal study of poetry, we consider it essential for all students to hear poetry read aloud often.  Students should also memorize and recite poetry selections on a regular basis.

The models we use in Poetry for Beginners include nursery rhymes, children’s songs, hymns, and verses from many American and English poets of the last five centuries. Our selection of poets includes Robert Louis Stevenson, William Blake, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Geoffrey Chaucer, Martin Luther, William Wordsworth, Dylan Thomas, as well as many others.

Poetry for Beginners provides up to two years of poetry instruction, typically studied in fifth and sixth grade. The skills learned in Poetry for Beginners are the necessary foundation for Intermediate Poetry and Advanced Poetry. Even older students need to master the concepts presented in this foundational text. We have developed the Older Beginners series to provide a means for older students to complete this book in just 12 weeks.

Theory                              

The theory of poetry is divided into the study of figures of speech, poetic meter, and stanza forms. In Poetry for Beginners, we cover:


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Analysis and Imitation

In Poetry for Beginners, as in Aesop and Homer, we teach a four day routine for analysis and imitation. We continue to help students develop copia—a variety of ways to express the same thought in the analysis and imitation of figures of speech.

Day 1 ~ Reading and Understanding
developing literary analysis skills using a careful questioning process to discern the central message of the poem

Day 2 ~ Figures of Speech
identifying, analyzing, and imitating figures of speech in the poem; vocabulary and spelling using words from the model

Day 3 ~ Poetic Meter
scanning and imitating the poem’s meter

Day 4 ~ Stanza Forms
analyzing and imitating the stanza form of the poem; copywork and dictation


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Practice

In Poetry for Beginners, the practice is done by imitating poems. Students write their own poems by imitating poetry in content, rhyme, meter, and stanza form. Also, they will learn to write a short essay about the poem based on the Day 1 Analysis. Finally, students learn to write short summaries of each stanza of the model poem. 
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The Poetry for Beginners Series of Books:

Poetry for Beginners is the non-consumable teacher text. For students starting in the 5th grade, this will provide one to two years of writing instruction. Our consumable Student Workbooks organize the work and divide Poetry for Beginners into two 12 week segments.  For each week, there is a weekly assignment checklist, a copy of the model poem for the student to mark up, space to do most of the exercises and assignments for each week. The optional Instructor’s Guides have teacher helps and answer keys, a copy of each model, and each week’s assignment checklist. We have also included analysis of each model poem’s figures of speech.

Although we highly recommend that you use the Student Workbooks, if you choose to create your own lesson plans, the optional Poems for Beginners book may be a help to you. It contains model poems which you can use to build your own lessons. You do not need this book if you use the Student Workbooks.

For students in 7th grade or above, you might consider Poetry for Older Beginners, which moves at a more rapid pace and offers models which will appeal to the older student. 
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What you need to buy:

Poetry for Beginners
~ core text for all study of Poetry for Beginners
~ non-consumable
~ contains model suggestions
~ for beginners of all ages
~ two years of work for a typical 5th - 6th grade student
Preview Sample Page

For the first year of Homer work:

Student Workbook A
~ consumable
~ 12 weeks of assignments
~ weekly schedules and checklists
~ covers first part of Poetry for Beginners
~ includes all models
~ step by step instructions for poem imitations
~ Instructor's Guide A recommended
Preview Sample Pages

 

Instructor's Guide A
~ non-consumable
~ optional with Student Workbook A
~ 12 weeks of daily lesson plans
~ has many teacher helps and notes for weekly lessons
~ comprehensive analysis of figures of speech in each model
~ includes help for applying lessons to other poems
Preview Sample Pages

 

For the second year of Homer work:

Student Workbook B
~ consumable
~ 12 weeks of assignments
~ weekly schedules and checklists
~ covers second part of Poetry for Beginners
~ includes all models
~ step by step instructions for poem imitations
~ Instructor's Guide B recommended
Preview Sample Pages

 

Instructor's Guide B
~ non-consumable
~ optional with Student Workbook A
~ 20 weeks of daily lesson plans
~ has many teacher helps and notes for weekly lessons
~ answers to most grammar exercises including diagramming
~ includes help for applying lessons to other subject areas
Preview Sample Pages

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Frequently Asked Questions

How do I know if my student is ready for Poetry for Beginners?

The student should be reading, writing, and spelling at a 5th grade level.

I’d love to buy Classical Writing but we are on a tight budget, and I have many students coming down the line.

Poetry for Beginners is a two year non-consumable book. Both Instructor’s Guides are non-consumable, also. In fact, all the core books are non-consumable.

It may be possible to only purchase one Student Workbook and use it as a non-consumable book by having your students do their work on the computer or on separate paper instead of marking up the book.
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