Hey Diddle Diddle the Cat and the Fiddle the Cow. Are You like the One in Four UK Adults Who Are Unable to Remember a Whole Nursery Rhyme? Have You Ever Wondered about the Significance of Nursery Rhymes to a Child in the 21st Century?

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Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if a child knows eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers and spellers in their class by the time they are in Year 3. Why is this? * 1. Nursery rhymes are a great way into learning early phonic skills (the ability to hear, identify and manipulate letter sounds).

Most schools use phonics as one of the main ways to teach reading. See more on this in future Reading Power articles. * 2. Nursery rhymes give children practice in pitch, volume as well as in language rhythm.

Think about how your voice sounds when you ask a question or when you retell an event to friends - children need to learn these language variations.

3. Nursery rhymes expand your child's imagination.

Nursery rhymes allow you to take your child to an imaginary world where blackbirds are baked in pies and vinegar and brown paper are a remedy for a cracked head! They transport children to a world of fantasy and play and can really develop your child's visualisation skills through the use of actions.

4. Nursery rhymes follow a clear sequence of events.

Although short, nursery rhymes often tell a story and contain a beginning, middle and end. Whilst this may be a compact way of storytelling, these will be some of the first stories your child will be able to follow and understand. An engagement with a sequence of events will be a skill they need when reading.

5. Nursery rhymes are easy to repeat, so they become some of a child's first sentences.

Children start to speak by using single words, 'car' and eventually put these together to express meaning, 'Me go.'.

Nursery rhymes allow even very young children to speak and understand in full sentences; this is a skill they will need before they are able to read.

6. Nursery rhymes improve a child's vocabulary.

Children hear and use new words that they wouldn't come across in everyday language, for example, 'Jack and Jill went up the hill to fetch a pail of water,' or 'when the bough breaks' from Rock a bye Baby.

7. Nursery rhymes are an early form of poetry.

Your child will have to read, analyse and write about poetry throughout their school career and will be examined on their understanding of poetry in both GCSE English Language and English Literature. Why not give them a head start? * 8. Nursery rhymes contain sophisticated literary devices!

Think of the alliteration in 'Goosey, Goosey Gander' or the onomatopoeia in 'Baa Baa Black Sheep' and rhyme in: 'Twinkle, twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are.' Nursery rhymes are a powerful learning source in early literacy. They enable children to become interested in the rhythm and patterns of language in a way that listening to stories does not provide. …