In storytime at the MacKay branch this week, we played a game in which we recited each other’s names while clapping on each syllable. My name is Amy; it has two syllables, so we clapped twice while we said it. A name like Mike has just one syllable (one clap), while a name like Caroline gets a whopping three claps!
Learning to break words into their component parts is one of the foundations of early literacy. By dividing their names into distinct syllables, children begin to think about how language is made up of smaller sounds (and by extension, words are made up of individual letters). We can make this kind of activity more fun by adding rhythm elements like clapping, drumming, and stomping feet.
You may find that you’re already doing this without even thinking about it. Nursery rhymes, poetry, and music are all common examples of language that has been set to a structured rhythm. So keep singing with your child and building those pre-literacy skills!