Benefits of Music on Child's Development The Four "R"s: Rhymes, Repetition, Rhythm & Reading


If you have a young child, then you already know what fun children have making up rhyming words, even if they aren't even  real words! 

HEY DIDDLE DIDDLE Traditional Mother Goose Nursery Rhyme Illustrated by Milo Winter From Childcraft, Volume 1, The Poems of Early Childhood (1954)

Early music experiences not only provide lots of rhyming activities for young children, but also these activities can be repeated later as "ensemble playing" in  classes for children who are in early elementary school. These age-old rhymes become finger plays, large movement activities, dramatic presentations, and even recitations accompanied by an ensemble of children playing rhythm instruments. This is the sequence followed in the Orff-Schulwerk Music Education Approach. (Click the link for more on this)

Here's a photo of a group playing rhythm sticks along with the rhyme, "Hey, Diddle, Diddle, The Cat & The Fiddle."

                 Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius Photography (from Carolyn's archive: Magical Movement Company)

I found a great article from PBS archives about the importance of rhyming in the development of reading skills in young children.
Here's the link: Benefits of Nursery Rhymes PBS Archives

Rhymers Are Readers: The Importance of Nursery Rhymes
Why Is This Important to My Child?
Tony Stead, senior national literacy consultant for Mondo Publishing in New York, described research showing that in 1945, the average elementary school student had a vocabulary of 10,000 words. Today, children have a vocabulary of only 2,500 words.“That is disastrous,” Mr. Stead said. “So many parents are not reading to their children anymore.” A lot of problems, he added, come from children not memorizing rhymes, the bread-and-butter of traditional early children’s literature.
“Listening comprehension precedes reading comprehension,” Mr. Stead said. “In order for a child to understand what they are reading, they have to be able to hear the language first. A lot of the traditional rhymes, such as ‘Jack and Jill’ and ‘Humpty Dumpty,’ were repetitious and allowed us to memorize basic structures and patterns in the English language, then put it together. It’s important that young children learn to memorize through verse.
“Research shows children learn more in their first eight years than they do in the rest of their lives. This is a powerful time to teach them to be readers and writers. Instead of enhancing children’s imaginations, today’s media have stunted it. Rhyme is important in developing phonemic [hearing] awareness in children. It’s harder in elementary school to teach kids to read when they do not have oral support. Kids are unable to paint pictures in their heads unless they read. Now they all have pictures painted for them through TV and video. When kids have to create their own stories, they rely on what they saw on television last night rather than form it in their minds. Traditional cultures handed stories down through talk. They didn’t have picture books back then. The power of a parent or teacher sitting down and telling a story, allowing kids to paint pictures in their heads, is a very powerful tool. Most of our problems could be solved if parents could be reading to and talking to children from birth, giving them a solid oral language basis. These days, the TV is on during dinner.” [Alderman, K., & Alderman, D. Why nursery rhymes? Retrieved from www.dannyandkim. com/WhyNurseryRhymes.html]
This book is available at Amazon at this link:Amazon Chairs Bear Shirley Parentaeu 

Nursery rhymes and songs can be used anywhere at any time. As such, they are one of our most transportable forms of play. Here are some of the ways fingerplays, rhymes, chants, and songs teach children concepts and skills and even provide emotional support.

1. Language Development. As children recite rhymes and sing songs, they are learning new vocabulary and how to articulate words, modulate their voices, and enunciate clearly. They are simultaneously practicing pitch, volume, and voice inflection while experiencing the rhythm of language. They learn to pronounce words easily by saying them over and over again and by practicing them without effort or the pressures of criticism.
© 2010 KBYU Eleven. All rights reserved. This document may be downloaded and copied for noncommercial home or educational use. Ready To Learn®; View, Read & Do®; and Learning Triangle ® are registered trademarks of the Public Broadcasting Service Corporation.

Photo from the artists at Dollar Photo Club

2. Reading Skills. In almost all fingerplays, the hands move from left to right. This left-to-right directional motion is important for children to experience, since it prepares them for the order of the written word in English. (When you read to your children, let them follow your finger, tracing the words so they also absorb this concept from the written words in a book.) A second important reading concept that children must experience fully before they can become good readers is story sequence. They need to absorb how the sequence of what happened first, second, third, etc., and last affects the story so they can retell it in the order the events occurred.

Photo from the artists at Dollar Photo Club

3. Math Concepts. There is frequent use of counting in young children’s songs and rhymes, in both a forward and backward direction. Children learn to add as they count forward and subtract as they count backward. Other stories and songs explore words that describe size (“Billy Goats Gruff”) and weight (“The Three Bears”) and use math-related words to define concepts such as many, few, plenty, and so on. This contributes to the child’s basic math foundation, which will later help in math abstractions.

                                    Photo by Jeri-Jo Idarius (from Carolyn's archives Magical Movement Company)

4. Creative Dramatization. Rhymes and songs provide great building blocks for creative dramatics. Children love to act out the rhymes as they say them, dramatizing the actions of the characters with their whole bodies or using their hands and fingers. When children are encouraged by an adult to display their creativity in an atmosphere that is free of criticism, their sense of self is strengthened and their confidence in expressing themselves is increased.

Photo from the artists at Dollar Photo Club

5. Comfort and Support. Nursery rhymes and songs are “places” young children can retreat to when they feel lonely, sad, or bewildered by their world. If a child is away from Mom or Dad and feeling alone, they can call upon a song they shared and be reminded of the times and the feelings they had when they sang it together.
Anderson, P. F. (2005). The mother goose pages. Retrieved from reading.html
Kenney, S. (2005). Nursery rhymes: Foundations for learning. General Music Today, 19 (1), 28–31. Monro, F. (Senior Speech-Language Pathologist). Nursery rhymes, songs and early language development. Interior
Health Authority. Neuman, S. B. (2004). Learning from poems & rhymes. Scholastic Parent & Child, 12 (3), 32.
© 2010 KBYU Eleven. All rights reserved. This document may be downloaded and copied for noncommercial home or educational use. Ready To Learn®; View, Read & Do®; and Learning Triangle ® are registered trademarks of the Public Broadcasting Service Corporation.

Why not celebrate National Poetry Month with your child? 
There are many great children's picture book authors that 
rely upon rhyming in the text. If you are not sold 100% on 
some of the old fashioned nursery rhyme books, there are 
lovely contemporary children's books that incorporate 
rhymes. Kindermusik International has a shop on line that 
offers many fun picture books that emphasize rhymes, 
repetition and rhythmical development. My current
favorite is: "Tippity, Tippity, too."

Reading repetitive rhymes helps children develop the skill 
of keeping a steady beat. You simply can't recite these 
rhymes without keeping that beat steady!

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