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Can rhyming make you a better reader?

“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four year old, they are usually amongst the best readers by the time they are eight.” Mem Fox

And isn’t that what we all want for our children? Let’s find out how it works:

Research shows that children with strong oral language skills can learn to read and write more easily. Every conversation you have with your child is an opportunity to develop those oral skills.

One of the fun ways to do this is with rhymes – it is an easy way to learn the sounds of a language and to incorporate them in speech.

Rhymes teach many concepts effortlessly:

  • New words in the rhymes increases vocabulary - The bear went over the mountain

  • The repetition of rhymes develops auditory discrimination and memory - Baa baa black sheep

  • Children learn about word families – wall, fall etc. Humpty Dumpty

  • Many nursery rhymes have actions and movement which helps those little muscles develop - London Bridge is Falling Down

  • The rhymes expand children’s imagination and can be acted out - If you are happy and you know it

  • Nursery rhymes have lots of patterns, counting forward and backward - 5 little monkeys

  • They introduce the concept of beginning, middle and end - Grand old Duke of York

  • Nursery rhymes are often referenced in other stories and help children who are learning English as a second language build a foundation of knowledge that will help their reading comprehension - Ring around the Rosey

  • Rhymes are easy way to introduce syllables as the children chant them - This is the way we wash our hands, brush our teeth….


Practice rhymes by playing games:

  • Leave out the rhyming word and have your child fill it in. (Don’t worry if it is not a real word in the beginning; you are training their ears.

  • Play What’s in my bag? Pull out imaginary items that rhyme

  • Play I Spy with rhyming words “I spy with my little eye something that rhymes with sack”

Where do we find them? Here are several collections:

A collection of 20 nursery rhymes sung for you:

Kid’s Song Collection

1 hour of animated kids songs and rhymes


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