We use nursery rhymes in early childhood education because research consistently shows that children who have memorized many nursery rhymes become better readers. We recite these rhymes with soft and loud voices, happy and sad voices. We sing the rhymes, march to their rhythms, and often pantomime their actions. Then we connect the language to print and build our reading skills.
Nursery rhymes are an important part of our literary heritage. Many have survived since the time of Shakespeare. Children continue to love these rhymes because of their delightful rhythm, nonsense, and imagery!
Memorizing rhymes, songs, and verses is a strategy that will give your child a storehouse of language to call upon when he is asked to fluently read, write and speak the English language.
Below are links to some of the most well-known Mother Goose Rhymes and mini books you can print for free. Perhaps your child already knows many of them. Enjoy chanting or singing these rhymes in the car or perhaps as a part of your bedtime routine. Encourage your child to recite them from memory with rhythm and expression and then point to the words as you read the rhyme sheet or little book together. In this way children role-play themselves as successful readers. We call this initial reading behavior “magical memory reading” which is an important phase that most children go through as they construct their knowledge of how print works. You will be amazed at how soon your child will be reading every word.
Thank you for being partners with us in literacy development. Reciting rhymes and reading together is a vital part of your child’s success in school. Enjoy creating wonderful family memories as you make friends with Mother Goose.
- Research shows that children who have memorized nursery rhymes become better readers because they develop an early sensitivity to the sounds of language.
- Nursery rhymes are short and full of alliteration and rhymes. Children can quickly internalize the language and make them their own. These memorized rhymes are ideal vehicles for playing with language and developing phonemic awareness.
- Children delight in the visual images and strong rhythmic character of nursery rhymes. Visual imagery and the rhythms of sound have a powerful effect on cognition.
- Memorizing nursery rhymes effortlessly plants the grammatical structure (or syntax) of language in the child’s long-term memory. This accelerates both language and literacy development.
- Nursery rhymes feature consistent decodable words (rimes) conducive to explicit phonics instruction within a meaningful context; they also reinforce high-frequency words.
- Nursery rhymes invite movement and dramatic interpretation, allowing children to personalize meaning and build language concepts and vocabulary.
- When children memorize, recite and perform nursery rhymes they are developing listening and speaking skills in a joyful, non-threatening context.
- Active, imaginative teaching with nursery rhymes takes advantage of how the brain learns best – it is meaningful, memorable, and multi-sensory.
- Nursery rhymes are basic cultural literacy – they are gifts of language that all children deserve to own.
From Celebrate Language and Accelerate Literacy: Higher Standards ·Joyful Learning · Proven Strategies. Nellie Edge, 2007
Click here to see a list of classic nursery rhymes to sing with your child
And visit this website where you can print off nursery rhyme mini-books to color and read together.