Do you know that nursery rhymes improve baby’s language skills? And do you know that they play an important role in helping him learn to read and understand the grammatical structure of the language? And you who thought that Am, stram, gram was only used to amuse your baby!
Promote the acquisition of language
Discover the rhythm of the language
Researchers have shown that sequences of rhythmic words, with funny rhymes, sensitize the rhythm of the language. And if you beat your feet or your hands to the rhythm of a story, you actually help the child to become aware of the syllables and sounds that make up the words. For example, one can clap with each syllable of the words that are placed at the end of the verse and that rhyme with others, as a colégram: co-lé-gram (3 beats).
Reciting nursery rhymes also familiarizes babies with the rhythm of speech and intonation, and also with the grammatical structure of the language. Indeed, in nursery rhymes, intonation is often exaggerated in comparison with everyday language (our intonation goes up at the end of a question, for example). You can also change intonation to emphasize certain words or expressions. Have fun singing the same rhyme as ” In the distant forest “. many times, focusing on different words.
Singing or humming enhances baby interaction while stimulating language learning.
On the way to reading
Nursery rhymes also prepare children for reading: they allow them to become aware of their own language and the way sounds are associated to form similar words, such as “cuckoo” and “owl”.
The melody helps the child to capture the meaning of a message, even before they understand the meaning of the words. Sing about the things he’s starting to know to reinforce new discoveries (for example, ” I have two eyes ” for body parts or “In the farm at Mathurin” for animals).
For a better articulation
Nursery rhymes also allow children to articulate better, and to pronounce consonants more clearly. For example, in “Miller, you sleep, Your mill, your mill goes too fast”, the “t” is repeated several times and associated with several sounds. The sequence of words makes the tongue move differently and change the position of the lips against the teeth. So nursery rhymes allow children to speak more easily and better to pronounce the sounds that cause them problems.
Try the following activities using the traditional nursery rhymes below.
- Point out to your child that there are words that rhyme and ask him to find other words that have the same rhyme.
- Draw your child’s attention to words that start with a certain sound and ask him to think of other words that start with that sound.
- Mark each syllable of nursery rhymes with a beat reminiscent of a drum; use a pencil and a tin box, for example.
- If your child knows a nursery rhyme on their fingertips, recite some tips and let them complete them. For example, let him say the words that rhyme at the end of the verse, like “cuckoo” and “owl”.