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Tuesday, September 21, 2021


A teacher recently told me that her administrator said, "Don't do nursery rhymes." What??? That administrator hasn't looked at the research!

Note!  I've heard complaints that nursery rhymes are stereotypic, violent, etcetera, etcetera.  If you don't like them, then don't do them.  However, most young children just find pleasure in the silliness of the words.  A mother recently told me how much her young daughter loved my "Tarzan" song and goes around singing it all day long.  Talk about nonsensical with Tarzan in the frying pan and Jane having a pain.  Children take things for face value, and that's why I like kids better than most adults I know!!

Anyway, saying nursery rhymes is a delightful way for children to practice oral language. Rhymes also develop auditory memory (good for the brain) and phonological awareness (key to beginning reading). Nursery rhymes have a simple plot and can be used to introduce story elements: characters, setting, problem, solution.

Nursery rhymes have been kept alive by children for hundreds of years. That is certainly testimony to their appealing quality to children. Nursery rhymes are short, simple, and are part of our literary heritage. Nursery rhymes are also FREE and can be integrated throughout the day to engage children.

Piggy Back Tunes
You can sing traditional nursery rhymes to tunes such as “100 Bottles
of Pop on the Wall,” “Yankee Doodle,” and ”Gilligan’s Island.”

Story Elements
Discuss the characters, setting, problem, resolution, etc. in nursery rhymes.

Rhyme of the Week
Select a rhyme each week and write it on a poster or language experience chart. Reread the rhyme each day.
*Clap the syllables.
*Find words that rhyme.
*Listen for words that start the same.
*Look up unusual words in the dictionary.
*Dramatize the rhyme.
*Say the rhyme the wrong way and let children correct you.
*Leave out a word and let the children fill in the missing word.
*Connect with art by letting children make puppets, play dough characters, etc.

Nursery Rhyme Club
Make a poster that says “Nursery Rhyme Club.” Whenever a child can say a rhyme, they get to sign their name on the poster. It would also be fun to give them a membership card!

Rhyme Pops
Cut 3 1/2" circles out of heavy paper and glue them to jumbo craft sticks. As you learn new rhymes write them on the circles and save them in a can. When you have a few extra minutes children can pull out a "rhyme pop" and lead their classmates in saying the nursery rhyme.

Write rhymes on sentence strips. Cut between the words and let children put them in the correct order in a pocket chart.


My Nursery Rhyme Book
Every child will need a spiral notebook or composition book for this project. Each week run off a copy of a rhyme you want to focus on. (Be sure and increase the font for little eyes.) Children cut out the rhyme and glue it on the left and then illustrate the rhyme on the right. Use the rhyme for choral reading and to reinforce specific skills (letters, left to right, sight words, punctuation, etc.) throughout the week. On Friday children take home their books and read the rhyme to their parents. Encourage parents to write their "comments and compliments" in the book.