Reading, reciting and singing Mother Goose rhymes to our children might seem old fashioned today, but it is an excellent way to help children to get ready to read. They were not just short stories or songs, they rhymed poetry. They had a sing-song melodic rhythm to the syllables and rhyming words at the end of each line. This is one of the main reasons why children find them so easy to recall.
When a child chants a rhyme repeatedly, they develop key pre-reading skills such as the ability to hear the distinct sounds that make up words, discern sound and word patterns and broaden their vocabulary. Studies have shown that the more nursery rhymes a child knows, the easier it will be for them to learn to read.
“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” – [Fox, M. (2001). Reading Magic. San Diego, CA: Harcourt.]
Movement & Dance
Mother Goose stories also inspire children to sing, move, and dance. Children learn through movement and play. In addition to the health benefits of physical activity, movement is an integral part of a young child’s life and education. It is through movement that children develop social, emotional, and cognitive skills. For young children, joining in group games and songs is not only fun, but creates friendships and further strengthens the bond of social acceptance.
Here are some ideas to incorporate Mother Goose Rhymes at home:
- Take time to read some before bed, or start your day with a few rhymes and use the day to act them out or role play
- Turn off the technology and spend time drawing the nursery rhymes or molding them with play dough
- Make hard boiled eggs and let your child draw humpty dumpty faces on them before eating them
- Have you and your child create your own verses or rhymes at home
For more ideas for activities and crafts, check out Learning 4 Kids. There is also Mother Goose Club, which is dedicated to videos encouraging sing-a-longs and movement for children to Mother Goose rhymes.