Why should you rhyme all the time?!

Have you ever noticed how much your kids seem to love nursery rhymes and songs? How they can hear them over and over again without getting bored? The rhythm, rhyme and repetition in poems make it easy and fun for children to develop language skills.

There are benefits to nursery rhymes and songs:

  • Rhymes & songs help children develop oral language skills
  • Poetry helps children pay attention to the sounds & patterns of language & encourages vocabulary
  • Poetry is easy to incorporate into everyday activities

Poetry is an effective way to encourage language development because of its simplicity and brevity of thought. You can convey a lot with a few words. It is closest to music and encouraging musical ability in children, especially very young children, is known to encourage complex thinking patterns in the brain.

In order to scaffold the various sounds in a language and help children make the connection that these sounds actually make meaning, rhymes are helpful. Children learn the form of a language through the rhymes and patterns that they can repeat. Through rhymes they begin to recognize and transfer these meanings into language use in other areas.

Poetry for young children is very rhythmic, has a lot of words that rhyme, has a simple form and may tell a simple story. Mainly poetry for young children is words put together in a somewhat meaningful string so the patterns in the sentence will help children develop and remember the oral language. Poetry for young children is meant to be read – aloud, sung-along, and repeated often. They are, simply put, exercises for the tongue, that later connect to complex patterns of meaning-making in the brain.

Children like hearing rhymes and songs repeated often because it is a re-affirmation of their newly learned skills of language and it offers a familiarity with the culture that they identify and find security in.

Here is an activity to turn favorite nursery rhymes into a fun game:

What you need:

  • Poster
  • markers
  • magazines
  • scissors
  • plain white paper (to draw pics if you can’t find the ones you need in the magazine)

What you learn:

  • Phonemic awareness
  • rhyming skills
  • uses of poetry

Let’s Play!:

All you need to do is choose a nursery rhyme or poem and begin writing that poem on a large poster board.

Try to identify at least one keyword in each line of the nursery rhyme which your kids could easily find a photo in a magazine to symbolize that word. As you are writing the nursery rhyme in large letters on the poster, leave blank spaces for these certain keywords.

Then present the poster to your kids and begin reading the nursery rhyme or poem to them. If they know the nursery rhyme already, ask them if they know what the missing word is. Then have them go through old magazines you’ve gathered and see if they can find a photo representing that missing word. Have them cut the image out and glue it to the poster board.

If they can’t find a photo to represent the keyword, then you can encourage your kids to make a drawing of the keyword.

Continue with the nursery rhyme until you and your children have filled in all the missing keywords.

Remember to choose keywords which are concrete and children are able to understand and find images of. For example, using the nursery rhyme, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” you might want your poster to have the following keywords missing:

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
Twinkle, twinkle little ___ (star),
How I wonder what you are.
Up above the ___ (world) so high,
Like a ___ (diamond) in the sky.
Twinkle, twinkle little ___ (star),
How I wonder what you are.
This activity works really well in a group setting, especially in a circle time situation. It becomes an activity where all the kids participate at the same time and help one another figure out what the pictures are.

Instead of a poster, you can also make a smaller version using construction paper. You can put one line of the nursery rhyme on each page and then bind all the pages together to make your own picture poem book.

Source: http://www.aplaceofourown.org/index.php



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