I was a lucky little girl. I didn't have a television, VCR, or computer, but I did have a record player with my little red and yellow records. I would sit for hours singing nursery rhymes, "I'm a Little Teapot," and all the other traditional children's songs. But no one sings these songs anymore! That's why I put them on my new CD "Rockin' Rhymes and Good Ol' Times." (The words are listed here on my web site if you have forgotten them!) These songs are not only fun, but will help children develop literacy skills. Further, research suggests a strong connection between the ability to rhyme and learning how to read!

So this month, here are some great activities you can use to extend nursery rhymes in your classroom:

  • Write rhymes on a language experience chart and use for a large group "shared reading" activity. Use some of these techniques to add variety:
   Choral Reading -Read together as you point to the words.
Shadow Reading -The teacher reads a line, then the children repeat that same line.
Take a Turn -The teacher reads a line, then children read the next line, and so forth.
Magic Word -Select a special word in the text. Every time you come to that word, children clap their hands or shout it out.
  • Make a tape of the children in your classroom singing the nursery rhymes. Put the tape in your listening center, or let children take the tape home to share with their families. (Hint! Buy inexpensive walkman and children can "walk" around the room and listen and read different rhymes you have displayed.)
  • Use the overhead projector to display words to rhymes. Circle words that rhyme, highlight punctuation, and use to reinforce other skills.
  • Write each line of a rhyme on a sentence strip and have the children arrange them in order in a pocket chart. Next, cut between the words of each line and put the words in a lunch sack. Challenge the children to "shake" up the words, then arrange them in order and read them.

Dr. Jean's Home Page