Language mastery is one of the great goals of classical education, and in the early years, as parents we are helping them to lay down foundational principles that will help them for life. Below are a variety of resources to help you in this task. Included are tools for learning phonics, spelling, and grammar.
In addition are a series of books with poems specifically for memorization. Language development is significantly enriched by exposure to good poetry.
Audio Memos – This app for iOS devices is free. Recite anything you want your child to learn and record your voice for instant playback.
Quizlet – This is website to create free flashcards on nearly any subject.
Living Memory: A Classical Memory Work Companion – This 452-page K-12 resource book by Andrew A. Campbell includes suggestions on how to do memory work utilizing basic language skills of reading, writing, speaking, and listening. Included are a grammar poem, common misspelled words, and a grammar catechism. Also included are ideas for memorizing literary facts and lists, famous sayings and quotations, proverbs, rhymes, and dramatic speeches from Shakespeare’s plays.
Phonics, Spelling, and Grammar
Grammar Grooves – This CD and activity book are for remembering nouns, pronouns, adjectives, verbs, tenses, adverbs, and punctuation.
Grammar Songs – This CD from Audio Memory is for learning the parts of speech, rules of punctuation, and 72 Greek and Latin roots for building vocabulary.
Shurley English – These CDs are filled with jingles and introductory sentences.
Grammar Rock – From Schoolhouse Rock comes this CD that teaches the building blocks of language, gives confidence to young writers and speakers, and teaches sentence structure and parts of speech.
Rock ‘N’ Learn – This series of DVDs, books, and CDs are great for parents looking for educational and entertaining programming for many stages of language development: Pre-School, Alphabet, Alphatbet Circus, Alphabet Exercise, Letter Sounds, Phonics and Reading, Phonics Volume 1, Phonics Volume 2, Sight Words Volume 1, Sight Words Level 2, Sight Words Level 3, and Reading Comprehension.
Meet the Phonics – These award-winning animated videos are great for teaching young children phonics: Letter Sounds, Blends, Diagraphs, Meet the Sight Words 1, Meet the Sight Words 2, Meet the Sight Words 3, and Meet the Letters.
Hooked on Phonics – This popular phonics program walks parents and children through all the fundamentals of phonics with the aim to help children love learning: Fun-Damentals, Fun in Motion, Complete Pre-K Set, Complete Kindergarten, Complete 1st Grade, Complete 2nd Grade, and Master Reading Premium.
Leap Frog DVDs – From a leading designer of technology-based educational products, these animated DVDs really put learning first: Phonics Farm, Letter Factory, Talking Words Factory, Numberland, Learn to Read at the Storybook Factory,Word Caper, and The Amazing Alphabet Amusement Park.
Word World – This series of DVD episodes makes words come alive…literally. Animals made of letters talk about how to sound of words and understand basic phonics.
Topics Entertainment – From the makers of the no.1 language learning line of products, Instant Immersion, comes the Phonics Execrator, a computer program, perfect for ages 5-10. It includes games that build letter recognition skills, spelling, phonics, and reading practice.
Vocabulary, Spelling, & Poetry books – A Beka’s provides books full of vocabulary word lessons and phonetic-based word lists; lessons for older students include information about pronunciation, parts of speech, etymology, definition, sentence example, synonyms, antonyms, and related forms. Contains a Word Analyzer made up of Greek and Latin prefixes, suffixes, and roots. Poetry is also included for student memorization; grade 1, grade 2, grade 3, grade 4, grade 5, and grade 6.
Foundations: A Weekly Grammar for Classical Communities – This kit includes week-by-week and subject-by-subject outlines for all memory work in each subject, including English grammar. Consider also buying My Memory Work lapbooks to complement these memory tools.
Learning Wrap-Ups – Wrap-ups are hand-held games the help to reinforce memory core subject facts. Available are individual wrap-up kits for learning vocabulary words, antonyms, synonyms, homonym, and compound words. Also available are a variety of pre-school wrap-ups for learning the alphabet, numbers, shapes, and phonics.
Spelling Workout – This series of workbooks and CDs leading students from simple sound-letter relationships to more complex spelling patterns. Students learn spelling skills based on phonics through reading passages and writing activities, including fun riddles and puzzles.
Poems and Literature
For a look at the history of the discipline of memorizing poetry in public education, read Heart Beats: Everyday Life and the Memorized Poem, by Catherine Robson. She explores the recitation’s progress in Great Britain and America in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and why the practice eventually became unpopular.
Linguistic Development Through Poetry Memorization – This book and CD provide you with a system to memorizing poetry to develop memorized language.
My Favorite Kindergarten Poems – This illustrated book introduces children to the poetry with familiar, enjoyable children’s poems.
Poetry Bee – This book by Emmalene Beck teaches you to create your own Poetry Bee with several levels of poems enjoyable for all ages.
Committed to Memory: 100 Best Poems to Memorize – This book by John Hollander, published in partnership with The Academy of American Poets, contains tales, sonnets, songs, meditations, and counsels.
Poems to Learn by Heart – This book by Caroline Kennedy contains more than a hundred poems, divided into sections about nature, sports, monsters and fairies, and friendship and family.
100 Little Rhymes for Teaching Your Child to Read – This book by Marilynn Anderson contain 100 rhymes written in a child’s voice, easy to memorize.
Whisper and Shout: Poems to Memorize – This book compiled by Patrice Vecchione includes an introduction about teaching kids how to memorize poems and a selection of verses with rhythms, themes, and wordplay that especially appeal to middle graders.
The Classical Reciter – This book by Gail McGaffigan includes 135 poems for memorizing and reciting from Shakespeare, Keats, Shelley, Dickinson, Poe, Longfellow, Wordsworth, and many more.
Literature for reading and memorization: Poems for children – This is an older book by Louise E. Tucker.
The Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum – This book compiled by Laura Berquist is a selection of poetry for every age level, elementary through high school. It includes selections from Robert Louis Stevenson, Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Robert Browning, William Shakespeare, G.K. Chesterton, William Butler Yeats, Robert Frost, and many others.