teaching and learning with nursery rhymes

Teaching and learning with nursery rhymes – reblogged from readilearn

Nursery rhymes are often a child’s first introduction to our literary heritage. Parents sing nursery rhyme lullabies to soothe their babies to sleep and play nursery rhyme games to entertain them in their waking hours. All the while, children are learning the rhythms and tones of our language, developing vocabulary, ideas and imagination. When children learn the repetitive patterns of nursery rhymes, they are also developing their memories.

Australian author Mem Fox is often quoted as saying that

“Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, they’re usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.”

While I am aware that others question the existence of research to back up that statement, I think most teachers would agree that children who have been spoken to, sung to (including nursery rhymes) and read to before school will find literacy learning much easier in our classrooms. Success with literacy learning often correlates with success later in life.

Already on the readilearn website, there are resources to support your literacy teaching using the nursery rhymes Humpty Dumpty and Little Miss Muffet. More are in development. While some nursery rhymes may be considered to have questionable origins, those origins have no place when teaching them to children. The benefits flow from having fun with the rhythms and rhymes of language.

Teaching literacy skills & developing creative thinking with Humpty Dumpty

The Humpty Dumpty suite of resources includes:

Continue reading: Teaching and learning with nursery rhymes – readilearn

28 thoughts on “Teaching and learning with nursery rhymes – reblogged from readilearn

  1. Marsha

    Preach it, Norah! Your materials look wonderful. Humpty Dumpty is one of my favorite stories. When I worked at the county we used that story to teach middle school students how to be proactive and change public policy. Which branch of government would have jurisdiction over the wall? Was the wall in good condition? What about the hospital and ambulance service? You get the idea. We did the activities with teachers as professional development and it was quite lively.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Humpty Dumpty would take on a whole new perspective with that exploration, Marsha. I can just imagine the excitement, and the litigation. 🙂 Thanks for you support and enthusiasm. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. ELA on the MOVE

    Agreed. My daughter was “reading” at six months in the sense that she had a book in her hand like her mother and father. Granted “Five Little Ducks” was upside down, but mimicking others is where it starts. She read the “IKEA” sign at a year and a half and shocked us beyond belief. From there, it’s history. I have always believed, and have a daughter of proof, that starting children early on with elementary skills stems a plethora of possibilities. Incidentally, Baby Mozart and problem solving/math-based board games should be given some credit in other subject areas. Let me add that I’ve taught elementary and middle school for 21 years.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Hi ELA,
      Thanks so much for your wonderful comment. Your daughter is fortunate to have benefited from your input. Every way in which we can enrich their minds and world, enriches the world for all of us.


  3. Jules

    I like that image with Humpty on a stretcher with EMTs 😀
    While most all nursery rhymes have historic backgrounds most have been forgotten. Not so much questionable, but perhaps not really reliant to the time.
    I think Humpty was about the fall of a king who could not retake his throne…

    I know my grands are good readers because I read to them 😉 I love it when they make their own books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Norah Post author

      Thanks, Jules. It is a cute illustration, isn’t it?
      By questionable, I meant the content was questionable (i.e. not suitable) for sharing with children; not that the history was questionable. Though it is for some.
      I love when children make their own books too. Your grandchildren are fortunate to have a grandmother to encourage them.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Erica/Erika

    An interesting post, Norah. You brought back memories of my Father reading us Hans Christian Anderson fairy tales and poems. My grandchildren can recite poems especially when they are in the form of songs. I agree with a key factor you mention, they are having fun. My grandchildren are still very young. Likely the best time to start.🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. roughwighting

    That’s an amazing and interesting quote – that children who learn 8 poems/rhymes by the time they’re 4 they will be great readers by the time they’re 8. I don’t particularly care if there is science behind that quote – I believe it!

    Liked by 3 people


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