Did you know that scientific research has proven that one of the best indicators of how well children will learn to read is their ability to recite nursery rhymes upon entering their kindergarten year? Although this is true, fewer and fewer children begin school having heard nursery rhymes, let alone being able to recite them. As this trend became more and more obvious a few years into my teaching career, I made a scientific based decision to start using nursery rhymes as the basis of my literacy curriculum. The chosen rhymes became the foundation of everything else I did in the classroom: my themes and phonological skills, as well as social concepts taught came directly from the nursery rhymes. Both classic and modern nursery rhymes naturally lend themselves to a balanced literacy program, but also to a differentiated instruction and a multidisciplinary approach in teaching. Teaching with nursery rhymes benefit students who have a wide range of learning styles, abilities and interests. My kindergarten students are filled with excitement and anticipation when a new rhyme is being introduced. They know that, along with the many different literacy concepts they will be learning, will come opportunities for hands-on exploration, music and movement activities, science and math extensions, art projects and many other exciting opportunities.
Did You Know This
Interesting Brain Research?
The only information that people hold in their memory, with word-for-word accuracy, from childhood is songs and rhymes. Human brains are uniquely wired to learn through music and rhyming with little to no effort because the rhythms of sound have such a profound effect on cognition. Children are able to develop expressive and fluent oral language, hear and distinguish sounds, and understand concepts about print much earlier than their visual systems are able to track and decode printed words. Children begin developing the neural pathways and can become confident “readers” at a young age, so it is vital to expose children to well known rhymes and songs as early as possible. This repeated exposure will accelerate oral language development and naturally build phonemic awareness, all while a child is delighting in the sounds of language and projecting that to the joys of print. Prolonged rich and varied experiences with oral language are vital for children to reach their potential as readers, writers, speakers, and thinkers.