Why Nursery Rhymes are the Staples of a Sounds Right Phonics Class

I remember as a child leafing through a ladybird book of 100 nursery rhymes and ‘reading’ each one. We still have the book at home and my little one enjoys doing the same and, even

though she can’t read a thing, she thinks she can because she knows so many rhymes by heart. I have a fond association with nursery rhymes and this is something I have tried to pass onto my own children for two reasons: I have lovely memories of Nursery Rhymes from my childhood and I believe (and research suggests) that the benefits of knowing lots of nursery rhymes are endless. It is for that reason that Nursery Rhymes play important roles in both Sounds Right Phonics Babes classes and the Sounds Right Phonics MINIs classes and make regular appearances in the preschool classes too.

For me, Nursery rhymes are not just for babies but can be fun, as well as providing a rich diet of language and early literacy skills, for children to reception (and beyond). Nursery rhymes have been a staple of growing up for centuries. With Pat a Cake Pat a Cake Bakers Man being one of the oldest cited Nursery Rhymes dating back to 1698. Generations of children have learnt those familiar rhymes having had them sung to them countless number of times. Research today suggests that that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their class by the time they are in Year 3. 

But what makes Nursery Rhymes so vital? For babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers it is their first exposure to the world of Literacy and teach a wealth of early phonic skills. And although You Tube and the likes of ‘Baby Bum’ provide great videos of nursery rhyme (which both my children have devoured and have saved my sanity many times) there is nothing lovelier than sharing the same rhyme again and again with your child on your lap and it is that repetition that helps aid their memory. Nursery rhymes are a wonderful way to open a world of Literacy to children from an early age. It teaches them a love of language and it is how children develop early language and literacy skills. Teaching nursery rhymes is a great way to develop speaking and listening. It is also an essential early phonics skill as nursery rhymes teach a wealth of early phonics skills which include: rhyme, rhythm, onomatopoeia as well as helping aid memory which in turn helps reading. It teaches a love of language, expands children’s imagination and is also a wonderful bonding time between parent and child.

Pediatric Speech Pathologist and literacy specialist Rebecca King from Kids First Children’s Services in Sydney agrees. She says that “international research has shown that children who “learn nursery rhymes and songs reap numerous language, learning and social rewards.” Over the next few weeks we will – along with some of our wonderful franchisees – be road testing some fun activities to explore nursery rhymes further but until then grab your kids and share some of your favourite rhymes together – you will be amazed how many come flooding back!
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