One of my earliest reading memories is of a thick book filled with Mother Goose’s classic nursery rhymes and sprinkled in with some fairy tales. Each night before bed I got to pick a few stories to read with my parents. Those bedtime stories were something I always looked forward to. Before long, I could “read” the nursery rhymes myself. Well, I thought I was actually reading. But really, I’d memorized the rhythm and words of these catchy little poems. As a teacher, I now realize the value of that book and those moments with my parents.
Why Children Need Nursery Rhymes
I’ve poured over the research, and it’s all very conclusive. KIDS STILL NEED TO HEAR, READ, AND LEARN NURSERY RHYMES. In this digital age, it’s more critical than ever that our littlest learners be exposed daily to nursery rhymes. Whether that be through classroom activities in preschool and kindergarten or bedtime stories, one thing is clear. Generations have benefited from those classic rhyming tales, and its time the current generation revisits them.
9 Reasons Why Children Need Nursery Rhymes
1. Nursery Rhyme Memorization Contributes to Future Success as a Reader
Literacy and child development experts have determined that children who know at least 8 nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are 4 years old are usually among the best readers and spellers in their class by the time they are in third grade. That fact alone makes me wish every newborn went home from the hospital with a big book of nursery rhymes!
2. Nursery Rhymes Help Children Improve their Recall and Memorization Skills
You want children to be able to memorize The Gettysburg Address and their multiplication facts down the road? Having students sing and recall nursery rhymes helps develop their long term memory and ability to recall information. Nursery rhymes provide a cognitive boost that’s crucial for future academic success.
3. Nursery Rhymes Teach Children How Language Works
As children recite nursery rhymes, they practice articulating and manipulating the smallest parts of a word. They experiment with inflection, voice articulation, and enunciation. Nursery rhymes show children how playful and fun language can be.
4. Nursery Rhymes Promote Vocabulary Development
Many of the words used in nursery rhymes are not words children would encounter in their daily experiences. If it weren’t for Miss Muffet, how else would you learn what a tuffet is? Children also learn that frightened is another way of saying that the spider scared her away. Nursery rhymes promote a rich vocabulary, even for toddlers and preschoolers.
5. Nursery Rhymes Prepare Children for Reading
Many nursery rhymes have a clear beginning, middle, and end to help children understand story structure and sequencing. As children hear a nursery rhyme, they’re often called on to think like an actual reader – making connections and inferring what might happen next.
6. Nursery Rhymes Present Opportunities for Cross-Curricular Explorations
It’s easy to incorporate math, science, and even STEM into your nursery rhyme lessons. Exactly how much wool could you fit in 3 bags from Baa Baa Black Sheep? Give students cotton balls and have them count as they stuff the balls into small bags. After learning and reciting Humpty Dumpty, have students use STEM materials to build a safer wall . The possibilities are endless when it comes to integrating nursery rhymes into all subjects.
7. Nursery Rhymes Help Children Develop the Skill of Rhyming
Research demonstrates a correlation between rhyming mastery and reading preparedness. Quite simply, children who learn to rhyme proficiently early on will be better able to learn to read – and read well. Because listening and speaking are important precursors to reading and writing, nursery rhymes are critical.
8. Nursery Rhymes Promote Higher Order Thinking Skills
The very act of hearing and reciting nursery rhymes builds brain structures that promote the development of Higher Order Thinking Skills. Your preschooler or kindergartner is experiencing immense brain development during those precious years, so why not boost that cognitive growth through nursery rhymes?
9. Nursery Rhymes are Fun
They’re silly and funny…and often nonsensical. But they’re just plain fun. My students giggle and do hand motions as we recite our nursery rhymes. They make special requests for which rhyme we’ll do next. And they never tire of these tried and true poems.
Those are 9 research based reasons why children need nursery rhymes. Now, I want to give you a solid plan for implementing nursery rhymes into your preschool or kindergarten curriculum.
Click the picture below to download this Nursery Rhyme weekly plan to guide your implementation of nursery rhymes into your preschool or kindergarten curriculum.
Grab my Nursery Rhyme Retelling Kit which features 21 popular nursery rhymes by clicking the image below: