Time to Rhyme

As a parent you would probably recite all the nursery rhymes you learnt as a child, to your own child. Favourites like Jack and Jill, and Humpty Dumpty and all the rest offer more than just entertainment to children. In fact, it is now widely recognised that nursery rhymes help children’s learning no end, in particular children’s reading skills.

Research shows that children who learn nursery rhymes at a young age are more likely to be early readers. Rhymes help children learn sounds. It teaches them phonological awareness and is a good support reading technique.

Words and sounds

Nonsensical as some may seem, introducing rhymes to children from a young age gives them a clear advantage as they start to link sounds and printed word. It can help them categorise words with spelling patterns. For example as they recognise what c-a-t looks and sounds like, then b-a-th-a-t and m-a-t will easily follow. This will help children with their literacy skills.

However, for pre-school children, rhymes are just fun. Where else can they hear of Jack and Jill climbing up a hill, and then falling down! What children learn is not just the words, but they learn to decode words and also start to recognise the sounds and this will help them in their spelling during their early years in school.

Counting and more

Nursery Rhymes also teach children a variety of skills. Like counting, with rhymes like 1,2 Buckle My Shoe or Hickory Dickory Dock, and listening as they play out the actions to the rhyme Incey Wincey Spider. It teaches children about body parts like with the song and rhyme: Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes. Everything about reciting nursery rhymes  contributes to children’s early learning skills, preparing them for the start of formal education.

Firing up the imagination

Acting out rhymes also develops children’s co-ordination skills as they use their fingers to count, or move up and down like a spider, or reach up high as they recite Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. With more modern songs like Dingle Dangle Scarecrow and Three Little Monkeys, children are not only learning words but putting actions to it and moving about as well. More often than not, the same  rhymes will be recited  over and over again. They do say, practice makes perfect. 

Rhymes are fun and most are quite humourous, which is why children just love reciting them over and over again. That’s good because it helps them with memory recall and recognising words. It teaches children about words that sound similar. It teaches children about the rhythm in rhymes, important foundations for children’s literacy skills. It also fires up children’s imagination, especially when parents or carers are expressive when reciting rhymes and children learn to listen to the stories in the rhyme.

So rhymes are not just fun, they actually have a serious role in teaching children to read.


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