Nursery rhymes are passed down from generation to generation. We sing them to our children, teach them in early childhood education. But why exactly are nursery rhymes important to a child’s development?
Rhyming has a number of benefits to a child’s language, literacy and social emotional development.
Literacy and Language: Rhyming is one of the first areas of phonological awareness to develop. It builds upon the ability to hear and produce smaller, specific parts of language. It is a crucial skill for future phonological awareness skills, which in combination set the groundwork for learning to read. When reading a book with rhymes, children can be encouraged to predict the next word in a phrase or sentence. This encourages their participation in reading and builds initial skills of identifying and producing smaller parts of words.
Social- emotionally: Rhyming provides opportunities to be silly, creative and collaborative with others. Children can explore humor by providing their own unique rhyming words to a story, while also hearing the humor of others as they contribute. This type of interaction builds the back and forth nature of social interactions and creates a bond between those sharing in the experience.
Memory and Cognition: Many nursery rhymes are memorized and become rote. Children learn the patterns or nursery rhymes and know what to expect in order to produce them. The repetitive nature of nursery rhymes and other rhyming experiences builds thinking skills and develops memory.