“Children are admirable masters of what we call style in speech. Their intonation is so true, so exact.” Ernest Legouvé
We have public recitations here in our home. We began this practice long ago when we lived in Arkansas. In the beginning, I was babysitting and this was a rainy activity for a child I kept who slurred and did not enunciate. Since I advertised my home child care as a pre-school, I decided it would be helpful to teach all of the children fun poems on days when we were unable to go outside due to the weather. I stumbled upon an amazing discovery. Children are excellent memorizers. They also love poems and fun quotes. We began to have little one on one sessions with each child during free time, and I was amazed at the ease in which poems were memorized and recited perfectly within days of teaching/practicing.
In this way, our Public Recitation Evenings were born. It was a perfect time for parents and children to come together at our house to enjoy one another, get acquainted with other parents, and for the children to shine. We had light refreshments with coffee and hot cocoa. These were a hit. Most of the parents were befuddled at how many poems the children could recite. It was a fabulous time.
After our son started Kindergarten, we continued with the poetry memorization and recitals, only much less frequently. There were so many advantages he gained from performing this art. He was at ease in front of an audience, and was chosen to represent the whole Kindergarten class at the end of the year graduation. He stood on stage and recited a small speech about the previous school year, and never showed one sign of nervousness. His recitation skills continued to improve as we encouraged him to stand up and speak in Bible Class, Church Camp, and at several Talent Shows. By now, “B” had memorized at least 25 lengthy poems, along with some famous quotes and a few historical speeches. How beautiful to sit among the audience members and listen to his expressive voice reciting with his own unique intonations, accent, and gestures.
An excellent resource which I heartily recommend is Andrew Pudwa’s Neurolinguistic Development by Poetry Memorization. This is a program in which Dr Pudwa has chosen hundreds of interesting poems, speeches, and pieces of popular literature to learn and recite. There are CDs which complement the written words, and we have found them most interesting to listen to while learning the pieces.
Does Recitation sound interesting to you? Give it a try, I believe you will never regret the decision!