Memorization, Part III

Children’s Reasons for Memorizing Many fairly vital motives may be found for little children, to repeat the poem at home, to take part in a program before the school, etc. Perhaps they need the exact words in dramatization, although extemporaneous work is better in the lower grades. It may be they will sing the poem when it is learned. “Sweet and Low” has done duty many times.

The more definite and individual the motive that is assigned, the better the work will be, but it must never be forgotten that willing eagerness to take part in all exercises is characteristic of a well-governed school.

The motive assigned on a lesson plan may be a (print is too faded to read- idol? Desultory? dilatory?) thing, only an added and useless cog in cumber some machinery if the teacher cannot tactfully employ it so as to make the whole operation move rapidly.

Beware of the artificial motive. Above all, beware of the pause when the child contemplates the incentive and decides he doesn’t want to.

Reasons for Requiring Memorizing Repeating the writing of others means using words which one is not in the habit of employing. If the selection is rightly made, these words should be well within the power of comprehension but slightly beyond habitual use. This increase in vocabulary is the weakest and poorest of the reasons for committing to memory.

Another reason is finding expression for one’s own feelings. A famous teacher is in the habit of speaking of our great writers as the Articulate Ones. He says they give words to what others feel. It is much for anybody, child or man, to find words for the gropings toward truth of which we are all conscious.

The strongest reason is the last. One paragraph which has become thoroughly familiar is a center which attracts to itself much which would otherwise be forgotten. “This reminds me of” — and we remember, because of its parallel significance, what we might otherwise have passed over.



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A-Plus Cookies, 1922 Recipe


Shortening, brown sugar, sour milk, molasses, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, honey, flour, nuts.  They sound delicious and hearty and wholesome.

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Free Kindle Books: Insist on reading the great books,

on marking the great events of the world. Then the little books can take care of them selves, and the trivial incidents of passing politics and diplomacy may perish with the using.— A. P. Stanley.

  • Unless otherwise noted, books are free but this can change without notice. Doublecheck.
  • If you click a link and it doesn’t finish loading, just hit refresh. Sometimes the page just kind of hangs for some reason, I am not sure why.
  • If I don’t say, “I loved this book” or “I read this,” Or something along those lines, I haven’t read the book. I haven’t read most of these. I’m just your book bird-dog, sniffing up potential good reads.
  • I use various search methods to come up with titles. Then I read the blurbs, a couple of the best and worst of the reviews, and sometimes scan the free pages.
  • I screen out so many this way that I end up *not* posting more books I’ve looked over than I post. And yet, still some duds slip through.


vintage BOOK with owls lettering

This book is not free, but D.E. Stevenson is one of my favorite authors, and I am really excited that you can get a Kindle book of hers, Vittoria Cottage, for only 3.99! Amberwell is only .99.  Paperbacks of Vittoria Cottage are around thirty dollars!  If you like Elizabeth Goudge, Miss Read, Angela Thirkell, Janice Holt Giles, you will love D.E. Stevenson.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Miss Martha and the Preacher:  Amazon blurb: Martha Vining is happy with the way things are. She enjoys the company of her preacher friend, Galen Greer, and has adjusted to having three foster children in her home. But everything begins to change when Galen hints he’s ready to take the relationship more seriously and Martha faces the possibility that the kids’ mother will soon be taking them back. An old fashioned style 16,500 word Christian novella.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

Thankful Rest by Annie Shepherd Swann

biography: Annie Shepherd Swan was a commercially successful novelist of the Victorian Era. Her idealized romances, set in England and Scotland, were hugely popular. Her characters often wrestled with questions of right and wrong, and her plots gently reinforced Christian concepts of faith in God and the power of prayer. In all, she produced almost 200 books and serialized novels for magazines.

vintage BOOK with owls lettering

The Enchanted Barn, by Grace Livingston Hill


Subject to change without notice: Free Titles were free at the time I copied and pasted the links. But they don’t always stay free. The older, public domain books should, because they are all in the public domain, but sometimes….

Shameless money grubbing: I thought this was common knowledge, but it turns out it’s not- these are affiliate links. If you click on a free title and download it, I get….. nothing. If you click on a free title and while you are at Amazon also buy something else, I get….. something. Depending on what you buy, it will probably be somewhere between 4% and 7.5% of what you spend (I don’t get a percentage on penny sales) but I don’t pretend to understand how all of that side works. People have tried to explain, but they start with numbers and my ears buzz and I can’t hear.

Also, Swagbucks remains my favorite source for free Amazon gift cards. And if you haven’t joined, please click on the link and join so that I can keep getting free Amazon gift cards because I am still shameless. Of course, if you regularly shop on line, you can also sign up for ebates, and then always check ebates first, before you do your regular shopping. You can get quite a tidy sum back on the purchases you were going to make anyway, which is not a bad deal. And then you can use the money for books- or for other things.=)

Don’t have a Kindle? : You don’t have to have a Kindle to take advantage of these offers. You can read them on various free reading apps. I often read mine on my laptop if they are short enough books. Or I will start there to see if I want to finish it later or remove it from my Kindle already. If you’re curious, this is the Kindle I have, and I have used others and mine remains my favorite. Mine has Keyboard 3G, Free 3G + Wi-Fi and I don’t have commercial screensavers. Personally, I don’t like Kindle Fires because I am a crank like that.

If you like these free listings, you should also like my Facebook page, because I list other free titles there several times each week.

Yes, my Kindle gets slow because I stuff it too full since I have no sense of proportion when it comes to owning books, both real and virtual.

You can left click on a title on your Kindle and delete it from your device, while still keeping it in your list of titles at Amazon in case you want to add it back to your Kindle later without paying for the title all over again. Don’t delete it from folder at Amazon unless you want to rid yourself of it permanently. Now that I have my tricksy little new phone, I have added it to my list of devices to which I can download devices. Woot!

commentary sources: Most of the blurbs and book descriptions above are not mine, but come from reviews on Amazon’s page.

To organize the books on your kindle

Thanks for reading!

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Pimiento Cheese Soup


2 tablespoonfuls butter

1/4 cupful chopped pimientos

1 tablespoonful cornstarch

1/8 teaspoonful salt

2 1/2 cupfuls milk

1/8 teaspoonful celery salt ‘

1/2 pound soft American cheese

1/8 tsp each onion salt,  paprika

Speck cayenne pepper

Melt the butter and cornstarch together in the top of a double-boiler, add the milk gradually, and heat to the scalding point. Then add the cheese cut in small pieces, stir until it is melted, and add the pimientos and seasonings. Serve with strips of crisp, buttered toast piled log-cabin fashion on a plate. Cleveland, 0.

(1922 Good Housekeeping cookbook)

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Aids to Memory (part 2)

Aids to Memory, by Rea McCain, 1920, cont. (previously)

Analysis of Aids to Memory

Those characteristics of form or thought which are essential to the composilion as it stands are natural aids to memory. Any chance or accidental points which are selected for emphasis may be called artificial aids to memory.

Natural Aids to Memory

There are three possible natural aids to memory, logical sequence of ideas, rhyme and rhythm. It is impossible to imagine any selection worth memorizing in which none of these is found, but not all occur in equal proportion in every selection.

Rhyme and Rhythm

Read the Seal Lullaby:

Oh! hush thee, my baby, the night is behind us,

And black are the waters that sparkled so green.

The moon, o’er the combers, looks downward to find us

At rest in the hollows that rustle between.

Where billow meets billow, there soft be thy pillow;

Ah, weary wee flipperling, curl at thy ease!

The storm shall not wake thee, nor shark overtake thee,

Asleep in the arms of the slow-swinging seas.


The thought analysis is not difficult; the darkness around, the moon over them, the seals in the hollow, the dangers guarded against. The thought, we say, is plain, but, the order is not inevitable, and yet the poem is easy to learn.

Kipling has such mastery of rhythm that the swing of the line carries one on, The rhyme, too, helps. We do not consciously think that pillow follows billow, but the suggestion is made all the same.

Rhythm may be of many kinds. We happen to have taken an example of slow and balanced motion. Quick and broken lines are just as easy to learn.

Over the cobbles he clattered and clashed in the dark inn-yard,

And he tapped with his whip on the shutters, but all was locked and barred;

He whistled a tune to the window, and who should be waiting there

But the landlord’s black-eyed daughter, Bess, the landlord’s daughter,

Plaiting a dark red love-knot into her long black hair.

Mr. Noyes carries us on rapidly but surely. What is the secret of the aid rhythm is in memorizing  I am not sure, but I suspect it is partly done by the phrasing. In prose we group our words by the thought contained. In the best poetry the rhythm suggests the grouping, and the lazy mind is relieved of part of the burden and seizes upon ready-prepared units.

Thought Sequence

To small children the thought sequence means little more than can be suggested by such questions as, What does he tell about first? What next? Older pupils may realize the inevitable sequence of the different thoughts. This is peculiarly evident in the Concord Hymn.

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled tanners stood,

And fired the shot heard round the world.

The foe long since in silence slept;

Alike the conqueror silent sleeps;

And Time the rude bridge has swept

Down the dark stream which seaward creeps.

On this green bank, by this soft stream,

We set to-day a votive stone;

That memory may her dead redeem,

When, like our sires, our sons are gone.

Spirit, that made those heroes dare

To die, and leave their children free,

Bid Time and Nature gently spare The shaft we raise to them and thee. — Emerson

The setting, the deed, the death of the men, the destruction of material surroundings, the reason for the meeting, the purpose of their act, the prayer.

Stripped to this bare outline, the force and clearness of the thought is evident. The Concord Hymn and the Gettysburg Address stand unrivalled for plain dignity of thought and expression.

Artificial Aids to Memory These are so numerous that even to catalogue them is impossible. Moreover, it is a waste of time. Some one suggests that one word be selected from each line and that these be memorized. Great speed and accuracy is announced as the result. It is probable that the poem learned in this way, as a test case, was quickly and success fully handled. Why? Not because of the merit of the method, but because the consciousness that something new was being tried acted as a spur. The mind, alert, went at the matter eagerly. For a device it worked; as a method to be regularly employed, it is plainly only an aggravation of the labor. Wash- Ad- Jeff — so we learned them, and supposed it helped. When I studied kings of England I didn’t try the method. Did you?


TBC  (by the way, Ms McCain wrote this article for use with students in grade five).

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