With all the technology in the world today we’ve gotten away from some of the traditional things we grew up with as children…such as reciting poems and nursery rhymes. Nursery rhymes are important for children to hear. They help children develop a sense of rhythm and rhyme and they also have some rare vocabulary (tuffet, curds, whey, fiddle, king’s men) that our children might not otherwise be exposed to if we don’t teach them these rhymes.
As a teacher, I was shocked at how few of my 25-30 students knew any of the poems. We spent the first month of school learning them and acting them out again and again and the students loved them. I also found it much easier to teach rhyming words using these poems as examples.
I have charts of the poems (easily purchased at any teacher supply store) that are illustrated beautifully but you can do it on your own! I recommend writing them on a big chart and letting the kids illustrate them or you could type them and print them and illustrate them yourself. I read them with my kids on a regular basis and we act them out, find rhyming words, find letters they know, find words they know (easy sight words such as: me, you, I, we, he, sat, on, in), and just enjoy the language. Another fun thing is to make up your own lines to the poems and use your children’s names. My kids love this! I suggest reciting the poems as you are driving to the store, getting dressed for bed, or out taking a walk. Kids love the rhythm and will soon develop their favorite poems.
I have printed each poem and put them into sheet protectors in a binder for each of my boys and once they know each poem well, I let them illustrate that poem. They love to do this and we talk about how they are the illustrators which makes them feel so proud!