”Children who have lived in book-filled homes prior to going to school are known to be scholastically advantaged for the rest of their lives. And children who have memorized eight nursery rhymes by the age of three, so I have been told, are always the best readers by the age of eight.” -Mem Fox
Rhyme is super important in children’s early reading experiences. I won’t get into it here in this post, but I will show you a post I found recently that can tell you all about it and give you lots of suggestions for how to instill a love for rhymes in your child: The Importance of Rhyme – Guest Post by Anna from The Imagination Tree, posted on the blog An Amazing Child.
Instead of talking about how important rhymes are today though, I want to show you how we are working with rhymes in our house!
I usually recite the rhyme a bunch of times while they are coloring their pages. If I can find a song version on itunes, I download that for them, too.
When they finish coloring their page, we put it into their nursery rhyme book. The books are made using presentation covers with sheet protectors put into the 3 brads.
Here’s a link to the cover I made for their books. The line at the bottom is for your child’s name.
I put the pages into the sheet protectors back-to-back so that there is a nursery rhyme on every page of the book. Sometimes the sheets slide out the top while they are looking at their books, so I am thinking of putting a little piece of clear tape over the top to keep that from happening.
Luke (3yo) can “read” his entire book–which right now has about 6 rhymes in it. It usually takes him only a day or two to learn a new nursery rhyme that we add. Lilah (21mo) can “read” hers with help. I’ll read the nursery rhyme, usually stopping on the 2nd half of the rhyme and let her fill in the word. I hear her reciting the rhymes on her own, too. The words aren’t always clear, but you can tell by the rhythm and flow which rhyme she’s saying!
We don’t add a new nursery rhyme every day — maybe 1-3 per week depending on what we’re doing. I find that right after lunch while I’m cleaning up is a great time to have them sit down to color their sheets. I can easily recite the rhyme over and over while I clean and it keeps them busy while I’m working.
To reinforce what they’re learning, we say/sing the rhyme randomly whenever we think of it: before bedtime, when we’re bored in the car, when we’re playing with rhythm instruments, when we get their books out to read, when we turn on their itunes music mix. Repetition is great; as adults, we often tire of repeated things, but kids are eager to repeat what’s familiar and it certainly helps them to learn!
What’s your (or your child’s) favorite nursery rhyme or song? My kids both adore “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”. Out of the rhymes we’ve done for their books though, it’s a toss up between “This Little Piggy” and “Rain, Rain”.
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