Exposure to nursery rhymes is an important building block for literacy. When I began as a children’s librarian, I asked a number of Kindergarten teachers for advice. They said that children were coming to Kindergarten without knowing nursery rhymes, and it would help a great deal if I taught them. I have always loved nursery rhymes, so I was happy to do this.
My signature nursery rhyme is Hickory Dickory Dock. I have a mouse puppet that I named Maureen. She always appreciates it when the children sing her favorite rhyme. In fact she gives everyone kisses at the end of the storytime she is so happy.
The rhyming is an important part, but singing the rhymes makes an even more powerful learning tool. When we sing, we pronounce each syllable more distinctly. This helps children understand that words are made of letters, each letter has its own sound, and when we group the letters together they make interesting sounds. Singing helps a child hear bits of sound at a time.
Because I have difficulty carrying a tune, I need adults to help me in all my storytimes. I’m not giving singing lessons. I’m breaking words into syllables and that’s something everyone can do with children.
P.S. I won a trivia contest recently, because the final question had to do with the 2nd verse of Jack and Jill. I was the only one who knew the answer. How fun is that?
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.
Up Jack got and home did trot as fast as he could caper. He went to bed and wrapped his head with vinegar and brown paper.