Item description for The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum by Laura Berquist...
Overview Introduce your students to the "finer things in life" today, not "someday!" Poetry is one of the forms of truth and beauty readily available to children. Here are imaginative compositions to be memorized, analyzed, dictated to enhance writing skills, and read aloud to encourage speaking abilities. Includes all the poems recommended in Berquist's Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum. Grades 1 - 12.
Publishers Description Berquist presents this wide selection of the greatest poetry ever written for every age level from grades one through twelve. She also offers dictation selections to help develop a student's writing ability, along with study questions and answers for each poem. Includes poems by greats like Browning, Yeats, Longfellow, Shakespeare, Frost, Chesterton and many more.
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Studio: Ignatius Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9" Width: 6" Height: 1.4" Weight: 1.5 lbs.
Release Date Mar 1, 1999
Publisher Ignatius Press
ISBN 0898707161 ISBN13 9780898707168 UPC 008987071617
Reviews - What do customers think about The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum?
A Wonderful Resource Apr 11, 2008
As a classical homeschooler, poetry memorization is important to me and at one time I owned 55 poetry books just to find the right poem to memorize. We have poetry books about each subject we study: math, science, history, grammar and french. Poetry is enjoyed in our home all the time but I found I was spending too much time fretting over what to memorize. I know some people let their kids pick the poems but when I tried that my daughter only wanted to pick the two to three line poems, not really caring what they were about.
Upon another's recommendation, I purchased The Harp and Laurel Wreath. At first I wasn't very impressed, I read the introduction and looked through the selections and it sat on the shelf. I used a few poems from The Harp and Laurel Wreath but I was still pulling poetry from many sources. I finally came to the point I wanted to make my time spent preparing for our lessons for efficient and effective, that's when The Harp and Laurel Wreath came down from the shelf and became the leader in our poetry memorization efforts. The book is separated into Early Years (K-3), Grammatical Stage(4-6), Dialectical Stage (7-9) and Rhetorical Stage (10-12). The grade levels are my estimation.
I feel this is an excellent collection of poems, play excerpts, and speeches for memorization purposes. Could it be added to? What couldn't? If you are looking for one source to help you through K-12 in memorization, this is one resource to have but don't purchase this thinking it is the end all of memorization selections. Personal tastes and individual educational goals may lead you to other areas but I do feel this book is worth having along for the journey.
We do not use the dictation exercises in The Harp and Laurel Wreath because our spelling program is dictation based but it nice to have selections to fall back on if I need them. We also intend to have a solid poetry analysis course outside of The Harp and Laurel Wreath.
Not for poetry memorization... Nov 1, 2007
I did something I rarely do: I purchased this book without having previewed it (years ago). I think that it was highly recommended somewhere on the WTM site. Anyway, as a newbie, I was eager to get the book and get started -- even before the children were ready.
I'm finally writing a review because I have several comments that I hope will be helpful to prospective purchasers. First, I was VERY disappointed in the book. A little background: As an English lit major who studied poetry, I felt completely comfortable selecting poems for older children to memorize. However, I felt insecure about choosing children's poetry (I mean for toddler to about 3rd grade). Well, a good number of the early stage selections are in A Child's Garden of Verse by RLS, available in many beautiful picture book options. You also have the standard Casey at the Bat, Charge of the Light Brigade, and the Midnight Ride of Paul Revere, which you can find ANYWHERE. Much of the rest, I found to be dull. I'd rather have my children memorize Wordworth and Shakespeare earlier (she puts some selections in later), and I feel comfortable enough now doing that. So...I compiled my own list of poems for memorization.
If that is too time-consuming for you to do or you feel overwhelmed with the thought of conducting a poetry memorization program at home, I recommend Andrew Pudewa's poetry memorization program (for your grammar stage children in particular). Although I don't care for some of his selections (elsewhere online I review his program in depth), he does an excellent job telling you HOW to do poetry memorization (a more developed system than that described in THLW, although similar), and he includes nifty pre-made charts and has audio recordings available for the busy mom (!); his book is conveniently spiral bound (VERY nice for junior to hold while memorizing on the run); and it is low-cost (unless you purchase the accompanying CDs). If you don't like his selections, just peruse the anthologies he lists in his bibliography and substitute. (One of those listed is The Harp and Laurel Wreath!)
However, Pudewa's program is strictly for poetry memorization. The Harp and Laurel Wreath also provides a few pages of dictation exercises. (There are basically 9 pages -- 55 selections -- of dictation for the whole grammar stage.) These aren't worth the price of the book. Instead, the strength of THLW is its third aspect: poetry analysis, which she does with the dialectic and rhetoric stage student. She provides terms gradually and has poems accompanied by questions. There are even answers for the questions. Note: I haven't looked at this section in depth, so I cannot comment on how good it is. I noticed enough, though, to want to caution you about depending on her questions too much. There is probably much more to the poem! Rhetoric stage students, especially, should learn to answer more than that about a poem. For example, you shouldn't just ask what the meter and rhyme scheme are; you should see if the meter and rhyme scheme enhance the message of the poem. ETC!! There are helpful "poetry exposition" pages online. You want to find a list of things to consider when reading a poem.
A minor quibble is that her TOC is too sparse. It would have been nice to have the poems for each stage listed there, in addition to the indices. I don't see why not. This would have helped with making an at-a-glance list of poems for memorization.
In summary, the greatest weakness of THLW is that it tries to do too much: a smattering of dictation, children's poetry selections, and poetry analysis. As an anthology of poetry, it is seriously lacking (imho). As a poetry memorization program, it is inferior to Pudewa's program. THLW's strength is in its poetry analysis, but AGAIN I MUST caution against depending on her questions entirely; they should be just a SPRINGBOARD for discussion about the poem.
Bottom line: Purchase for your older student to do poetry analysis. Understand, though, that it is just a start for poetry analysis. Your child should work up to writing a 3-5 page paper about a poem. For grammar stage students, Pudewa's program is much better, at approximately the same cost, for poetry memorization. You could disagree with me (or not care) about the poetry selections (somewhat subjective, after all), but Pudewa's program is also better for certain conveniences in running a poetry memorization program. You might forgo Pudewa, though, if you want an all-in-one and don't mind the format (fat book, spine will break in THLW, not just one poem per page, some on multiple pages, etc.). For the pure fun of reading poetry to young children, there are also much better anthologies, with many available free at the library.
By the way, The Top 500 Poems is my favorite poetry anthology. You can probably use this with your older children. I still haven't found ONE favorite anthology of children's poetry (or a really good version of Andersen's or Grimm's fairy tales). Would love to hear if you recommend any.
Beautiful Collection of Poetry for Children Mar 19, 2004
This collection of poetry, especially designed for those putting together a curriculum for children, does all the work of finding important, interesting and beautiful works for children to study or memorize from the simplest verses for young tots "The world is so full of a number of things, I'm sure we should all be as happy as kings" to more complex works for high school (such as "Ode to a Grecian Urn" by John Keats) that include study questions and an answer key. This is a true treasure especially for homeschool parents and teachers - it's so comprehensive and easy to use.
It's not the only poetry book you should own (there certainly is a place for beautifully illustrated poetry books to pick up for pleasure reading as well), but it is a real gem and a great value.
Twaddle-free Copywork Oct 9, 2003
This is *the* all-in-one resource for your classical copywork, dictation, and memory work needs. Laura Berquist has done all the legwork for busy homeschooling parents, bringing together a lovely selection of poetry and organizing it according to the stages of the trivium. Selections for the rhetorical stage include study questions, so the book could double as a literature text in the upper grades.
One note to clear up a misconception by another reviewer: This isn't meant to be a comprehensive poetry anthology for reading aloud - plenty of these are available - but rather a sourcebook for classical language arts. It's an attractive enough book, with black-and-white line drawings on some pages, but not a decorative one; that's not its purpose. The emphasis is on language throughout, not visuals. But that's part of the appeal for classical homeschoolers.
All in all, this is a wonderful time-saving resource for your classical homeschool.
Not at all colorful or fun to read for parents or students Jul 23, 2003
We have this book - in fact, we have had it for six years and have never used it. I have tried, but it is too boring to use. Poetry should be colorful and beautiful. Not page after page of poetic text to read. I suggest getting some classic poetry books - full of color and pictures - and reading the beautiful words to your children. This book is one to skip.