A to Z Phonics.com
for Early Reading Success

HomeAlphabet PrintablesReading GamesWord BlendsVowels

What's New
Lesson Plans
The Alphabet
My Story
What is Phonics
Reading Games
Reading Software
Teaching Phonics
phonics resources
step by step
More Free Stuff

Why use children's nursery rhymes?

Using children's nursery rhymes is a great way to build phonological awareness and provides welcome practice with phonograms and word families in a fun way.....you can only go so far with flashcards!

Knowing how to rhyme will greatly improve your child's auditory skills which is vital for pre-school phonics.

And how will our children enjoy the delights of great classic books such as Ahlberg's Each Peach Pear Plum, with its beautiful illustrations and text, if they do not know the nursery rhymes!

Children's vocabulary can also be enriched by reading nursery rhymes. For example in the rhyme Jack and Jill:

Jack and Jill

Went up the hill

To fetch a pail of water

Jack fell down and broke his crown

And Jill came tumbling after!

Jack falls down and breaks his crown. Helping explain that this is another word for head and that pail is another word for bucket immediately puts two new words into a child's vocabulary.

There are of course many more examples like this which is a wonderful way to introduce new words and English expressions, which will only help to produce good creative writing further down the track!

The phonograms -ill and -er could also be introduced here with the words Jill/hill and water/after. So you see nursery rhymes can produce some interesting language lessons. They are often short, bouncy and perfect for emerging readers.

How do you teach rhyme?

A child has to be taught how to rhyme, so how can we approach that?  The first thing to do is to model how to rhyme.

Remember to read all those children's nursery rhymes! Here are 'Before and After' videos of how I taught Caleb to rhyme. My printer had packed up (sigh!), so I quickley drew simple line drawings of rhyming words:

  • Hair/Chair
  • Eye/Tie
  • Nose/Toes
  • Bee/Knee
  • The drawings provided visual clues which made it easier for Caleb, so he was not bombarded with information, and was able to concentrate on the task at hand. Modelling how to rhyme helps them use their auditory/listening skills and makes them think rhyme naturally.

    In the first video, you can see that Caleb did not have any idea how to rhyme!

    Double Click on the middle arrow to activate the video: (please excuse the lack of light...this has been our first upload to YouTube and we are just learning! I will get better..just like Caleb!)

    In the second video (taken just a few minutes later) you can see that Caleb was quickly picking up the idea of how to rhyme and matching the words with the rhyming pair. He still requires lots of practice with rhyming activities and games - but he has made a great start.

    To assess if your child is understanding how to rhyme, I would say something like:

    "We are going to play a rhyming game. Rhyming words have the same ending sounds. Cat and Rat are rhyming words. They have the same ending sounds but different beginning sounds. Hat and Cat are rhyming words.

    I am going say a word, and you are going to see how many rhyming words you can make" At this point I might say "Nose" and then hopefully your child will say words that rhyme with Nose, such as Rose, Toes, Goes etc.

    If your child still can't rhyme, this just tells you that they just need more practice, so play more rhyming games until it becomes natural for them to think of rhyming words. Always choose one syllable words that are easy to rhyme and remember to keep it F.U.N

    Remember children's nursery rhymes are a great place to start teaching children how to rhyme

    Click here to view our latest children's nursery rhymes printables and play games that teach a child how to rhyme.

    Now go and find all those children's nursery rhymes!

    Click here for more articles and help in teaching phonics

    footer for children's nursery rhymes page

    A to Z Phonics now a part of the A to Z Teacher Stuff network.
    © 1997- A to Z Teacher Stuff, L.L.C.  All Rights Reserved.