June 29, 2015

6 Ways to Teach Nursery Rhymes in Kindergarten and Preschool

Nursery Rhymes are a great way to start off the year to help students learn patterns in text, build fluency, and increase confidence in reading. Even my shyest students will read along with the nursery rhymes because they are easy for young students to learn. We spend 1 week on each rhyme and practice it each day with a different activity. This really help students become fluent as well as learn some text features for their future reading skills. Here are a few of the activities I use in my classroom when introducing nursery rhymes.
1. Whole Group Poster - I put these small posters in sheet protectors on my wipe-off board. I introduce the poem the first day and have students repeat each sentence back and then we try reading it all together. Throughout the week, we will use the poem to hunt for sight words, capital letters, the letter/sound of the week, punctuation, rhyming words, etc. When introducing the poem, we go over any vocabulary words they may not know, and any history behind the poem. You can also start to introduce the concept of fiction/non-fiction. Soooo many possibilities!!
2. Vocabulary/Retelling Cards - I use these cards to introduce vocabulary words in each poem, but then we can also use them for retelling the story. During the week, I give the students some smaller vocabulary cards for them to color and take home. I add the poem and the cards to my library center for students to work on retelling more.
3. Sequencing Worksheets - We all know how important sequencing is to learn, so I incorporate it with my nursery rhyme lessons. We typically do this worksheet at the end of the week when the students are more familiar with the poem. 
4. Emergent Readers -For students to practice reading independently and to work on book concepts, each student gets a small book of each nursery rhyme. Once colored, we practice as a group pointing to the words as we read the rhyme. Even at the very beginning of Kindergarten, students can learn to use the pictures to help them know what is going on in the book and they can somewhat follow along with the text.  
I let them pick a partner and go practice reading it together. Students enjoy taking this home because they can show off their reading skills to their family. It's something to be proud of!!
5. Poem Folders/Books - I also give students a copy of the poem to put in their poem folders or you could make a small book like this. They get to illustrate the picture then circle the sight words. In case you don't have poem folders, I made an example of how you could make small nursery rhyme books with all 10 nursery rhymes.  
Please ignore the drawing skills---they're horrible! ;)
6. Comprehension Worksheet - Finally, at the end of the week, I give a short comprehension quiz. In Kindergarten, I don't take grades, but it's nice to see who is comprehending and paying attention to the details in the poems. I also like seeing their writing progress throughout the months on the open ended question at the bottom. 
We also discuss characters, settings, and do a lot of comparing/contrasting during our nursery rhyme lessons. If you like some of the ideas above, you're in luck! I have bundled 10 sets of nursery rhymes that include all the activities above and more! You can find this Nursery Rhyme bundle in my TPT store.
Here are the Nursery Rhymes that are included in this bundle. You can use this for 10 weeks of learning!!
-Mary Had a Little Lamb
-Hey Diddle Diddle
-Little Miss Muffet
-Row, Row, Row Your Boat
-Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
-Baa Baa Black Sheep
-Humpty Dumpty
-The Itsy Bitsy Spider
-Jack and Jill
-Hickory Dickory Dock

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