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Secret Code of Poetry and the Art of Understanding It Student Text


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The Secret Code of Poetry is unique among poetry courses not only for its Catholicity, but also because it combines poetry appreciation with an in-depth study of “how a poem works.” Hands-on activities and memorization assignments increase the student’s appreciation for the beauty of poetry, while clear explanations and step-by-step analyzation assignments de-mystify poetic techniques such as enjambment, alliteration, meter, irony, and more.

The Secret Code of Poetry is an ideal preparation for high school literature studies. Even as it reflects on the beauty and truth in poetry, it also teaches skills that are crucially important for future literature studies. As the author points out, these skills are even more necessary for students who plan to attend college, since “the ability to critically analyze texts and ideas is central to a college education.”

In particular, the student will learn:

  • to decipher difficult grammar and word-choice to grasp the essence of what is being said;
  • to look beyond the literal level of a text;
  • to pay attention to details, thinking about what they mean;
  • to study the structure of a work and the relationship between its whole and its parts;
  • to discern what is most important in complicated ideas;
  • to understand irony;
  • to think through ideas for himself.

Each lesson ends with activities that engage the student’s attention and allow him to practice what he has learned. These activities range from “Practice!” and “Analyze This!” assignments, to poetry memorization and recitation, to compiling a personal poetry anthology, to writing an original poem. Together, the text and workbook form a complete, one-year literature course for seventh, eighth, or ninth grade. 

The Student Text contains 27 lessons and a 30-page anthology of select poems. This anthology consists of more than 100, favorite poems by poets such as Dickinson, Frost, Hopkins, Wordsworth, and Shakespeare, and includes all the poems needed to complete the activities in the text and workbook. Non-consumable. 184 pgs. 8½”x11”

The Student Workbook includes “Practice!” activities, “Analyze This!” assignments, tips for writing poetry, unit tests and reviews, and a complete answer key (including answers to “Analyze This!” assignments). 100 pgs. 8½”x11”

Recommended core text in CHC Lesson Plans for Eighth Grade.  Tour this title within the Eighth Grade Interactive Guide!


About the Author

RoseMary C. Johnson was homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. She graduated summa cum laude from the University of Dallas with a Bachelor’s degree in English and a concentration in Greek. Her favorite authors are St. Thomas Aquinas, G.K. Chesterton, John Donne, St. Thomas More, William Shakespeare, J.R.R. Tolkien, and Evelyn Waugh. In her free time, she enjoys baking homemade bread and reading ancient texts in Latin and Greek.