Tuesday, April 17, 2012


I know I did a post last week on the poetry books I've added to my collection this year. But since that post, I added another that I just had to share.  Mary Ann Hoberman's new book FORGET-ME-NOTS: POEMS TO LEARN BY HEART is fabulous! It is a big anthology with lots of poems. The poems are chosen because they are all perfect for learning by heart. I am not a big "learning by heart" person but the introduction to this book made me think about it a little bit differently.  Hoberman says, "When you learn a poem by heart, it becomes part of you."  She goes onto say that the poems in this book were chosen because they are "memorable".  She says, "Memorable has two meanings: 'easy to remember' and "worth remembering'.  She shares pages and pages of poems to memorizing, starting with shorter poems that readers can memorize quickly.  She moves on with various categories and then ends with longer poems that readers may want to memorize.  She adds tips for memorization on the last few pages of the book.

My memories of memorizing poems in school are not good. When I had to do this, I had to choose a poem, memorize it and say it out loud to the class.  I don't remember much else. But this book introduces the idea of memorizing poetry in a fresh and inviting way.  Not only is Hoberman excited about the idea herself but the illustrations by Michael Emberley make poetry performance look like such fun!  The book makes this idea of memorizing poetry something kids might choose to do!

This book definitely needs a place in classrooms and libraries. I think it will be the perfect invitation for kids who want to give memorizing poetry a try.  Not only does Hoberman give great tips but she has chosen a great many engaging poems. Such a great variety too! And for those readers who want nothing to do with memorizing poetry, this is still a great anthology to enjoy!


  1. Sounds like it would be perfect for "Poem in Your Pocket Day." Simple poems the kids could carry and possibly memorize by the end of the day. Thanks for another great title.

  2. Wonderful! I am going to share the resource! Thank you for sharing it with us! --Rachel at Fisher Reyna Education

  3. I remember having to memorize "The Lady of Shallot" and "The Highwayman" way back in elementary school, which got us ready for Shakespeare in middle and high school - ah the rigors of English boarding schools! Thanks for sharing this resource.

  4. Oh, I immediately like this book just from its cover. I always had difficulty with poetry, but I like Hoberman's definition of "memorable." Makes poetry seem much more personal.

    -Charmaine, Community Advocate at QuickSchools

  5. Wow, great reference. Thanks for introducing this book to me! It sounds like one both my children and my kindergarteners would love.

  6. Oh, a book I did not know about. I "discovered" about 12 years ago that third graders (and other elementary ages) actually LOVE learning poems by heart, and sharing them with both formal and informal audiences! I developed a few simple (and I mean simple) strategies to get kids to learn almost 40 poems by heart in a school year! No pressure, no homework, no requirement, no testing!! No kidding! And they all join in.
    So I can't wait to see this book. I knew from a podcast on poets.org (I think) that MaryAnn Hoberman believed in learning poems by heart. You can see my kids in a 3 min. youtube clip uploaded by a local newspaper. Search on Youtube for poetry on parade Skaneateles. Also search for three year old Litany to see a young boy, Samuel, recite so innocently a Billy Collins poem. He learned it via the same "technique" my students do. I think it is an art long forgotten, but worth a second chance. I have a website and have been sharing my strategies as much as I can at conferences (like NCTE and IRA). So I can attest that this idea has merit and lots of educational potential! I retired after 40 years in teaching last June and honestly the poetry has the biggest bang for the education buck that I have ever found. This does not take much class or teacher time, either, which I know is critical in schools these days. I am working now to connect my ideas with the CCSS in hopes others might want to give it a try. PS I am very new to the blogosphere, sad to say, but thrilled to be here. Thank you for your blogs! Mine is coming someday, Janet Fagal


Comment moderation is turned on.