Hearing, learning and reciting nursery rhymes helps young children toward becoming proficient readers.
Not only do children experience the pleasure of words but they also develop early literacy skills.
Help children develop an ear for rhyme by:
1. Telling children that the words sound the same at the end;
2. Reading aloud and reciting to children and having the children themselves recite and sing nursery rhymes and poems.
It is important to use care when selecting nursery rhymes, jingles, finger plays, and poems to use in phonemic awareness activities. Here are some guidelines that may be helpful to consider:
First, select poems and rhymes that actually do contain rhyming words. Many popular rhymes, such as “This little piggy”, do not contain true rhyming words, and thus will not promote phonemic awareness. The rhyme is “This little piggy went to market/This little piggy stayed home/ This little piggy had roast beef/ This little piggy had none/ And this little piggy cried, Wee-wee-wee/All the way home”. “None” and “Home” are only partial rhymes, and they are far apart in the poem.
Second, it is easier for young children to hear words that rhyme if they are in close proximity to one another.
In many poems and rhymes, the rhyming pattern in ABAB and so the rhyming words are not in consecutive lines, but rather in every other line. It is easier for young children to hear rhyming words that are situated in closer proximity. The rhyme “One, two/ Buckle my shoe” is a good example of a poem with rhyming words that are in close proximity to one another.
Questions about rhyme should include:
• Which word does not rhyme?
• Which word has a different end sound?
• Can you think of a word that rhymes with______________?
Suggested Nursery Rhymes:
Hey Diddle Diddle!
The cat and the fiddle
The cow jumped over the moon
The Little dog laughed
To see such sport
And the dish ran away with the spoon.
Hark! Hark! The dogs do bark,
The beggars are coming to town.
Some in rags
And some in tags,
And one in a velvet gown.
Hickory, dickory, dock,
The mouse ran up the clock.
The clock struck one,
The mouse ran down!
Hickory, dickory, dock.
Dickey ,dickery, dare
The pig flew in the air
The man in brown
Soon brought him down!
Dickey ,dickery, dare
Doctor Foster went to Gloucester
In a shower of rain
He stepped in a puddle
Right up to his middle
And never went there again.
Sat on a wall
Had a great fall
All the King’s horses
And all the King’s men
Couldn’t put Humpty
Five Fat peas in a pea pod pressed
(Children hold hand in a fist)
One grew, two grew, so did all the rest. (Put thumb & fingers up one by one)
They grew and grew
(Raise hand in the air very slowly)
And did not stop
Until one day
The pod went POP! (Children clap hands together)
It’s raining it’s pouring;
The old man is snoring.
He went ti bed
And went to bed
And he couldn’t get up in the morning
One, two, three, four, five
Once I caught a fish alive.
Six, seven, eight, nine, ten,
Then I let it go again.
Why did you let it go?
Because it bit my finger so.
Which finger did it bite?
This little one upon my right.
Baa, Baa Black sheep
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir
Three bags full.
One for my master,
One for my dame,
And one for the little boy
Who lives in the lane.
Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe.
Get it done by half past two.
Half past two is much too late!
Get it done by half past eight.
Stitch it up, and stitch it down,
And I’ll give you half a crown.
Where have you been?
I’ve been to London
To visit the Queen.
What did you there?
I frightened a little mouse
Under her chair.
Mary had a little lamb, little lamb,
Mary had a little lamb; its fleece was white as snow.
Everywhere that Mary went, Mary went, Mary went.
Everywhere that Mary went, the lamb was sure to go.
Which was against the rules.
It made the children laugh and play,
to see a lamb at school.
Rain, rain, go away
Come again another day
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again.
Rain, rain, pour down,
But not a drop on our town.
Rain on the green grass,
And rain on the tree,
And rain on the housetop,
But not on me.
My Hands upon my head I’ll place.
Upon my shoulders, on my face,
At my waist and by my side,
Then behind me they will hide.
Then I’ll raise them way up high,
And let my fingers fly, fly, fly,
Then clap, clap, clap them –
One – two – three!
Now see how quiet they can be.
Hands on Shoulders,
Hands on knees.
Hands behind you, if you please;
Touch your shoulders, now your nose,
Now your hair and now your toes;
Hands up high in the air,
Down at your sides, and touch your hair; Hands up high as before,
Now clap your hands,
One – two – three- four!
Row, row, Row your boat
Gently down the stream,
Until you hit the waterfall—
Then you’ll start to scream.
Jack be quick
Jack jump over the candlestick.
Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone.
But the dog couldn’t wait
So when dinner was late,
He ordered a pizza by phone.
Little Jack Horner
Sat in a corner
Eating his Christmas pie:
He put in his thumb
And pulled out a plumb,
And said “what a good boy am I”!
Little Miss Muffet
Sat on a tuffet
Licking an ice cream cone
Along came a spider
Who dangled beside her –
She told him to go get his own.
1, 2 Tie my shoe
3, 4 Shut the door
5, 6 Pick up sticks
7, 8 Lay them straight
9,10 A big fat hen
Let’s get up and count again!
The kites go up,
The kites go down,
In and around, all over the town
The children run and jump and play,
Because they love a windy day.
Old Mother Hubbard went to the cupboard
To get her poor dog a bone
When she got there
Her cupboard was bare
And so the poor dog had none.
She went to the baker’s to buy him some bread
But when she came back, the poor dog was dead.
She went to the joiner’s to buy him a coffin
But when she came back, the poor dog was laughing
She took a clean dish, to get him some tripe
But when she came back he was smoking a pipe.
She went to the fish monger’s to buy him some fish
But when she came back he was licking the dish.
She went to the alehouse to buy him some beer,
But when she came back the dog sat in the chair.
She went to the tavern for white wine and red
But when she came back the dog stood on his head.
She went to the hatter’s to buy him a hat
But when she came back he was feeding the cat.
She went to the barber’s to buy him a wig
But when she came back he was dancing a jig.
She went to the fruiters to buy him some fruit,
But when she came back he was playing a flute.
She went to the tailor’s to buy him a coat,
But when she came back he was riding a goat.
She went to the cobbler’s to buy him some shoes,
But when she came back he was reading the news
Five Little Monkeys jumping on the bed
One fell off and bumped his head
Mama called the doctor and the doctor said “No more monkeys jumping on the bed!”
Four little monkeys jumping on the bed, three little monkeys (and so on..)
Vegetables, vegetables in the pot.
What a lot of soup you’ve got
Drink and eat, drink and eat,
Drinking soup is really neat.
One lonely bus driver all alone and blue
He picked up a passenger and then there were two
Two people riding, they stopped by a tree
They picked up a passenger, and then there were three
Three people riding, they stopped by a store
They picked up a passenger, and then there were four.
Four people riding, happy and alive,
They picked up a passenger, and then there were five.
Five people riding, open swung the door
Four passengers got off the bus,
The driver’s alone once more
Five Little Fishes Swimming in the Pool
This one said, “The pool is cool.”
This one said, “ The pool is deep.”
This one said, “I’d like to sleep”.
This one said, “I’ll float and dip.”
This one said, “I see a ship.”
The fishing boat comes
The line goes splash
All the little fishes swim away in a flash!
At the Zoo we saw a bear
He had long, dark fuzzy hair
We saw a lion in a cage.
He was in an awful rage.
We saw the big, long necked giraffe,
And the silly monkeys made us laugh
But my favourite animal at the zoo
Is the elephant –How about you?
I have a little toothbrush
I hold it very tight
I brush my teeth each morning,
And then again at night
Reds, yellows, blacks and greens.
I love to eat those beans of jelly,
Sweet and tasty in my belly
Wibbly Wobbly Wack
An elephant sat on Jack
Wibbly Wobbly Wessica
An elephant sat on Jessica
(Use child’s name)
Red leaf, Yellow Leaf,
Fluttering on the tree
Red leaf, Yellow leaf
Flutter down on me
Tippy tippy tip toe
Here I go
Tippy tippy tip toe
To and fro
Tippy tippy tip toe
Through the house
Tippy tippy tip toe
Like a mouse (whispered)
There was an old man
Named Michael Finnigin
He grew whiskers on his chinigin,
The wind came up and blew them inigin
Poor old Michael Finnigin (Beginigin)
Higgledy Piggledy Pop
The dog has swallowed the mop
The cut’s in a flurry
The dog’s in a hurry
Higgledy Piggledy Pop.
Credit goes to Jane Sheils & Yvonne Sawyers