Do you know what’s one of the best predictors of how well a kindergartner will learn to read? It’s if he knows his nursery rhymes.
Jack and Jill went up the hill.
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall.
Baa, baa, black sheep, have you any wool?
Jack Sprat would eat no fat. His wife would eat no lean.
All those nonsensical verses from your childhood really do matter. They matter, because they rhyme. Rhyming is fun. And it’s a very important part of reading success.
Why Is Rhyming Important?
1. Rhyming teaches children how language works. It helps them notice and work with the sounds within words.
2. Rhymes help children experience the rhythm of language. As they recite nursery rhymes they learn to speak with animated voices. Someday they’ll read with expression, too.
3. When children are familiar with a nursery rhyme or rhyming book, they learn to anticipate the rhyming word. This prepares them to make predictions when they read, another important reading skill.
4. Rhyming is important for writing, too. It can help children understand that words that share common sounds often share common letters. For example, the rhyming words cat and bat both end with –at.
5. When listening to rhyming songs and poems children create a mental picture, expanding the imagination.
6. Because rhyming is fun, it adds joy to the sometimes daunting task of learning to read.
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