Humpty, Dumpty; Twinkle, Twinkle; Hickory, Dickory; Peas Porridge; Diddle, Diddle Dumpling
Can you finish all those lines? Do you know more nursery rhymes? Why is it important for your child to learn these?
Lots of questions for us to ponder today –
The introduction of nursery rhymes is very important in the development of young children. Here are just a few areas of importance:
- Language development-learn to differentiate between vowels and consonants, intonation, increase vocabulary
- Pre-reading skills
- Focused listening-we learn first by listening, then practicing orally.
- Cognitive development-Creating imaginary pictures
- Musical development-the development of rhythmic skills comes from the predictable cadence of the rhymes.
- Physical development-finger plays that go with the rhymes are helpful in developing fine motor skills. Acting out nursery rhymes can help with gross motor skills.
I just read an mind-boggling statistic -“…In 1945 the average elementary school student had a vocabulary of 10,000 words. Today, children have a vocabulary of only 2,500 words.” Article The reason for poor vocabulary acquisition is probably because we are reading less to our infants. That can be easily remedied by using nursery rhymes as a beginning step.
Nursery rhymes are a great way to stimulate a child’s imagination. They often are quick, (you can remember them, so, as a parent, you are able to recite them to and/or with your child at any time), they have rich vocabulary, usually have a very rhythmic cadence to them, can stimulate feelings, and are easy to memorize, for just a few examples.
Let’s focus just on language development today (even though I really want to talk about musical development – can you guess why?)
Vocabulary: Nursery rhymes have a rich vocabulary that may be learned by the young child through the context. For example: There Was An Old Lady uses the words “squiggled” and “absurd”. Those are vocabulary expanders.
Pre-reading skills: Rhyming is a common element in most nursery rhymes. Because of this it is a tremendous tool in beginning reading skills. All children must learn to rhyme to become better readers. If a child can rhyme cat and bat, they will quickly become capable of linking sat, rat, hat, etc. When they are eventually exposed to the written word (when you are reading aloud to your child), they will begin to recognize that they all end with the same letters.
Focused listening: How did you learn to read? The very first steps were hearing sounds in utero. After birth, you heard people speaking to you, to which you responded with some form of babble. The auditory preceded the oral which preceded the written. In order to achieve these steps, it is very important that children learn to differentiate between sounds called phonemes. An example would be to recognize that map and moon both begin with the same sound. It would also apply to ending sounds that rhyme. The ability to identify and distinguish between phonemes is auditory not linked to the written word. Phonemic awareness is not phonics (Here is a good article – http://reading.uoregon.edu/big_ideas/pa/pa_what.php- with more in-depth information than I can give you here.)
Tone: Do you ever speak with your children about tone of voice? Where do they learn about that? Of course, it is first from their caretakers. Nursery rhymes are a great way to experiment with different tones of voice. Try saying Humpty Dumpty in a high voice, a low voice, an angry voice, a happy voice, a witch’s voice or like a robot. The children will love the silliness of it, you can bear repeating it many times, and they are learning about tone.
I hope this helps in helping you recite and read nursery rhymes with your kids!
Why don’t you twinkle while you diddle and fall off the wall!