Tag archives: rhyme times

Monday, 22 January 2018

The benefits of rhymes and rhyme times

ORd6FI loved attending this very popular library rhyme time in Enfield some time ago.

Head of Ofsted Amanda Spielman recently said ‘Children who can sing a song and know a story off by heart aged four are better  prepared for school. Nursery rhymes provide a collective experience – and teach a little bit of social history to boot.’

I too am a big fan of rhymes, and of rhyme times, and with several courses on effective rhyme times this term and next, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to their benefits for children’s language and literacy development and more widely. I gave a synopsis in a previous blog. Here are some expert views.

‘Becoming aware of rhyming sounds boosts brain activity.’ Alice Sterling Honig

‘Research has shown a clear connection between the awareness of rhyme in toddlers and the development of reading skills. It is a better indicator even than the child’s IQ.’ D P Bryant

‘The better children are at detecting rhymes the quicker and more successful they will be at learning to read.’ L Bradley

‘The children best equipped to tackle serious books later on are the ones with a good grounding in the “nonsense” of nursery rhymes.’ Ann Henderson

And of course rhyme times benefit not just children. A fabulous example of family learning, they boost parents’ and carers’ skills and confidence. They change attitudes. They foster family bonding. They help combat isolation and build social cohesion. Importantly too, they create new, hopefully long-term, visitors for the libraries, museums and other settings that deliver them.

It is well worth looking at The Arts Council and ASCEL ‘Rhyme Time and Seven Quality Principles Toolkit’.

To end, a parent’s view, posted recently on Twitter: ‘First-ever Rhyme Time today and we all loved it!’

Wednesday, 19 October 2016

Rhymes and rhyme times and their value

golders-green-rhyme-time-1I have lots of training coming up on supporting reading in the Early Years Foundation Stage, and on working with babies and under fives in museums. Preparing them has got me thinking again about how important rhymes and rhyme times are. Then just today, I had a request for a rhyme time course.

There’s no question that young children love rhyme times, and that parents and carers value them greatly. The photo here of a wonderful session I attended in a Barnet library demonstrates just how special they are. There is also no question about the support they give for children’s well-being, their learning and their overall development. Research and anecdotal evidence show that they benefit:

•    social skills
•    self-esteem and confidence
•    attention and concentration
•    memory
•    imagination
•    physical coordination and motor skills
•    cognitive development
•    understanding of the world
•    numeracy
•    communication skills
•    speaking and listening skills
•    literacy
•    phonological awareness
•    vocabulary
•    comprehension

Quite a list! You might also be interested to read a recent article on the value of music and rhyme for children’s literacy development and another one on how using stories, songs and rhymes can support mental health.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Rhyme times

It’s been lovely to give courses for library and museum staff on using rhyme effectively recently. These are some of the areas of babies’ and children’s learning and development that rhyme times support:

  • social skills
  • physical coordination
  • attention and concentration
  • memory
  • cognitive development
  • understanding of the world
  • numeracy
  • speaking and listening
  • comprehension
  • literacy

This little boy at an Enfield Libraries rhyme time vividly demonstrates their learning potential. He’s learning through fun, and the fun element, for children and for parents and carers, is crucial.

What are other keys to success? Familiarity and repetition greatly aid babies’ and toddlers’ learning and pleasure, so repeat rhymes within sessions, and from one session to another. Aim for variety within each rhyme time: mix chanting and sung rhymes, finger, counting and action rhymes, quiet rhymes and rhymes with lots of noise and movement. Active participation by adults and children is vital. Props, puppets and musical instruments help engagement, understanding and enjoyment. Small babies get more from rhyme times if they face their carer rather than looking outwards. Finally, don’t worry if you’re not a great singer. Babies and toddlers won’t mind; parents and carers will be reassured that they don’t need to be perfect.

Friday, 4 May 2012

CyMAL early years and rhyme time courses

What a lovely time I had in Wrexham on Wednesday and Thursday. I was giving two pilot early years courses for CyMAL (Museum Libraries and Archives Wales). The first was on effective library provision for babies and young children, with a particular focus on language and literacy development and ways to support it. The delegates were fantastic, and there were masses of great ideas shared. Yesterday was devoted to rhyme times, with again a fabulous group. It was wonderful to explore every aspect of successful practice. In the afternoon everyone delivered a rhyme, complete with props, which was inspiring. It was fascinating that no two people had the same style. All used different, and very creative, methods to engage audiences. I can’t wait to deliver the courses again in Carmarthen next week, and for the roll-out of the training across Wales.

Many thanks to all the delegates on both courses, and to everyone who shared their expertise as I put the training together. Enfield Library Service was brilliant. The photo shows a toddler time there.

If you are interested, here are details about my early years library courses, and my rhyme time training.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Bilingual early years library session

I am currently preparing courses on early years library provision, and on rhyme times, and it’s been lovely to visit some great under 5s activities to pick up extra ideas for good practice. As there will be a bilingual context for much of the training I’m planning, it was especially good to attend a library session for Polish families in Enfield on Friday.

It was a snowy morning, so I expected low turn-out, but such is the dedication the weekly sessions inspire that ten or so families came along (there can be up to twenty), one of them with a week-old baby. Babies and one, two and three year-olds were all actively engaged, as were mothers, an older sister and a grandparent. There were lots of things to do, several with a suitably snowy theme, like the story being enjoyed here, and picture-making. Polish music played softly in the background. The morning ended with a wonderful, very participative rhyme time, which everyone loved. Agnieszka Bartoszek, who led the session, used rhymes in both Polish and English, and I found it fascinating to observe all the children and adults switching backwards and forwards from one language to the other with no problem. The little girl in pink here, who is nine months old, adores books in both languages. She sat on a little push-along bike and devoured lots with total delight.

What I admire about sessions like this is that as well as being so enjoyable, they play a huge role in supporting children’s language skills, their emotional and social development, and their knowledge and understanding. The value to the whole family is enormous. The group enables Agi to spread the word about other things going on for under 5s locally, and to alert everyone to issues like the need to register for nursery provision at the appropriate time. Recently she arranged a visit from an oral health practitioner, who talked not only about tooth-brushing, but also about how to find a dentist.

Many thanks to Agi, to Josie Layzell, Enfield Bookstart Coordinator, who arranged my visit, and of course to all the lovely families I met.