Nursery Rhymes have enormous educational value


As a parent of a toddler or pre-schooler you will have a collection of familiar ditties.  Nursery rhymes are incredibly powerful influencers in early childhood development and education. As well as entertainment value they are powerful teaching tools:

  • Nursery rhymes are a fun way to help develop language, communication and literacy skills from an early age. They are like short stories often repetitive with a beginning, middle and end and fit with the limited attention span of young children.

  • Nursery rhymes are important for language acquisitionand help with speech development

  • They help children develop auditory skills such as discriminating between sounds and developing the ear for the music of words.

  • They enrich vocabulary.

  • They provide a fun way to introduce number and mathematical concepts.

  • Nursery rhymes help children to develop physical, creative, social and emotional skills.

  • They are just plain fun to recite!

Nursery rhymes may seem more appropriate for toddlers and pre-schoolers than school aged children but being able to rhyme lays the foundation to children being able to read and write words. If you want your child to be a successful reader it’s so important to encourage them to rhyme as it is a really valuable pre-reading skill that can be taught through books and games. Children who have good rhyming skills and recognise the patterns in words orally can later apply this skill to writing words using phonics so it is also a great pre-writing skill too.

Try incorporating rhyming activities into everyday routines and activities in any of the following ways:

  • Read nursery rhyme books and rhyming picture books to your child over and over again so that they build up a bank of known nursery rhymes. As your child becomes familiar with the books, leave out the rhyming word and pause. Ask them what comes next. You can then identify the rhyming words - “That’s right! Cat rhymes with hat.”

  • Share rhyming story books, pause to give your child the opportunity to complete the rhyme e.g. Run, run, as fast as you can, you can’t catch me, I’m the Gingerbread…

  • Recite a familiar rhyme with one mistake. Then your child could say “Beep Beep!” and supply the right word.

  • Have fun making up your own silly rhymes e.g Humpty Dumpty sat on a log, Humpty Dumpty saw a …

  • Construct rhyming strings e.g sun, bun, fun and identify the odd one out pig, cat, dig

The Ready Steady School Letters and Sounds box contains a rhyming card game with bright colourful pictures. These cards feature 4 pictures and can be used to listen, recognise and identify words that rhyme. These resources are one small component of a comprehensive resource that takes you through the stages of learning to read and write simple words in a fun and informal way.