Why Rhyming Matters
THE IMPORTANCE OF RHYME IN EARLY LITERACY
This page is intended to encourage parents and care-givers of children from birth to six years of age to get their crazy on - sing and dance with your children!
Listening and speaking are the earliest skills children develop on the road to learning to read and write.
Once upon a time, parents would sing rhymes, chants or songs to their babies while jiggling them on a knee.
When my babies were young, I used to chant:
"To market, to market to buy a fat pig, home again, home again jiggity jig
To market, to market to buy a fat hog, home again, home again jiggity jog."
They would babble and gurgle back at me. I would repeat their nonsense so they knew I was "talking" to them. That created fun and laughter. Babies are fascinating and I loved every minute of the exchanges we had. Even a very small child will respond to the fun of rhyming "pig" and "jig". As they learn to speak, they'll follow along and fill in the blanks if you give them a chance.
Unfortunately, research shows many children are simply not hearing these rhymes or being sung to any more, and learning nursery rhymes has fallen by the wayside as technology has taken over. The result is an appalling lack of literacy on a global scale. I would love to see that change.
Why Is Rhyme So Important?
By singing and repeating rhymes to a child, you are helping them to develop a broad range of skills that will launch them into the English language and all the things we do - reading, writing, counting, speaking, listening, all while gaining confidence and having fun at the same time.
Specifically, they'll learn to listen for, and keep, a steady beat. Children will also learn songs and chants off by heart, be able to re-tell them and sing them to you, and be able to complete a rhyme or predict a word that's missing. They'll also learn what doesn't rhyme, and they'll learn to make up funny rhymes of their own using words like bat, cat, rat, mat, that, fat and so on.
Tiny babies love to listen to singing. You can go about your day singing "Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush" to almost anything - "This is the way we wash our clothes".... "eat our food"..... "pick up our toys".
As your child grows, you could add items that relate to the rhymes, which adds another dimension to learning. For example, toys that relate to the animals in Old MacDonald Has A Farm.
The irony is that singing and reading rhymes to clap along to, or making up funny stories can be done almost anywhere - on a walk, in a bath, on a car journey. Just turn off your music, switch off your phone, and sing! You'll get the benefit back by the bucketload when your child learns to read, write and count quickly.
So, head back to my Picture Books and choose a story to read to your child today. All the picture books are rhyming and to get you under way, I will be adding a video to each story, so you can easily decide which one you would like to begin with. Enjoy!
I've added some nursery rhymes to this page to get you dancing, but first, here's a rap lesson from Ross and Rachel....