Monday, February 2, 2015


Here’s a testimony from a teacher in Oklahoma that proves once again that the teacher adds the magic. Mikela Williams came to a workshop I did last fall and she called a few weeks later all excited about how her kids were responding to nursery rhymes. I’ll let her tell you about it… 

Can teaching reading really be fun? Why, yes, yes it can! I’ll never forget the first time I heard Dr. Jean mention the importance of teaching kids nursery rhymes. I became even more excited when she showed me the evidence that supported the use of nursery rhymes in the classroom. I wondered if nursery rhymes could truly help my struggling readers? So I decided to use them in my classroom and my teaching has never been the same since. 

I began by going to this website (Dr. Jean had mentioned this resource at the workshop and on her blog.) They really had a rhyme a week, and I decided my first rhyme would be “Simple Simon Went a Fishing.” If you follow the plan suggested by the website Tuesdays are acting days. My kids loved this rhyme and they especially loved acting it out. I decided to get a little creative and I brought in a stuffed whale and a Star Wars bucket that my son had gotten for Easter. The rest was left to their imaginations. I assigned the students parts and even rotated who got to play which part so everyone had a chance to do a part they wanted. When I had too many students to use I created a “stage hand” position whose job was to remove and place props on our “stage”. I was floored by how much my students got into doing this. I saw kids who were hardly ever motivated to do anything begging to get to act out the rhyme again.

Using nursery rhymes to teach kids how to read has invigorated my passion for teaching again. I love seeing the smiles on my kids’ faces and I leave each lesson having enjoyed teaching. Even better. Though, is the realization that I am creating within my students a love for reading and they are finally beginning to realize how much fun reading really can be.

I've been thinking about Mikela's story and there's a very important word that she reminded me about.  ACT!  With so much screen time, children often disconnect with what we are trying to teach them.  Children love to perform, and by having them ACT out rhymes and stories and songs and vocabulary words and science concepts...we encourage them to use their imaginations and participate wholeheartedly in learning.

It's free, simple, and easy!  Give it a try this week! 

Click here for a link to my Nursery Rhyme Pinterest Page.