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Reciting Other People’s Poetry: A Dusty Relic or Powerful Teaching Tool?

English teachers say that memorizing and reciting aren’t dusty relics, but powerful levers that help them impart key skills to students: acquiring deep understanding of text structure and author’s purpose; building vocabulary, and finding a personal connection to written language.

“I just like them having the words in their mouths,” said Fisher, who has been teaching English at Mount Vernon High School, an hour’s drive from the Canadian border, for nine years. “The language is so much higher than what they’re normally using.”