Parent Conversation Guides

Memorize a Poem Together

Memorize a Poem Together

“Committing meaningful words to mind is like taking training wheels off a bicycle,” says Cambridge Professor, Dr, Debbie Pullinger.  “You may be a bit wobbly at first, but only then can you really feel the way the bike is moving over the surface; only then can you find your balance.”

Consider beginning with The Swing by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  • How do you like to go up in a swing,
  • Up in the air so blue?
  • Oh, I do think it the pleasantest thing
  • Ever a child can do!
  • Up in the air and over the wall,
  • Till I can see so wide,
  • River and trees and cattle and all
  • Over the countryside –
  • Till I look down on the garden green,
  • Down on the roof so brown –
  • Up in the air I go flying again,
  • Up in the air and down!
  • You can lead, perhaps having your child finish key lines, like “Up in the air so ___” and “Ever a child can ___.” Eventually you can be responsible for longer sections.
  • Do these words remind you of what swinging feels like? Do the word take you up and down?
  • If your child has just experienced an “up and down” day, think about beginning the poem – and helping them connect to the up and down nature of life.