Nursery Rhymes/Rimas Infantitles (REE mas Een fan TEE les) and songs are an easy, fun way to learn a new language, develop literacy skills, and create memories that last. They have brought lots of laughter and smiles to generations as well as playing a fundamental role in early childhood literacy development. They can help to refocus children and can make transitions from one activity to another as easy as one, two, three. In addition, rhymers become readers! Studies show that singing songs and reciting chants and rhymes are critical for reading readiness. These rhymes and songs tell short, simple stories. Research suggests that children who know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they’re four years old, are among the top readers when they are eight years old.
Los Pollitos Dicen (Los Po YEE toes Dee sen) is one of the most well-known and traditional songs in Latin America. There are often different variations and versions of this popular song. The rhythm also differs from one Latin American country to another.
Ayvar’s Grandma Selma already spoke five languages at the age of nine when she moved from Eastern Europe to the United States. Unfortunately, none of those languages was English. Like many immigrant children, she learned English so well that as an adult most people had no idea that she was not a native English speaker. When she was 92 years old she decided to study Spanish and did so by starting with Spanish nursery rhymes and songs.
How do you think parents entertained and taught their children before TV and electronics? These rhymes and songs have been told and sung for many generations. Why do you think we still recite and sing these rhymes and poems?
Do you really think that animals make different sounds in different countries? Why or why not? Why do you think people hear the sounds that animals make differently?
Each of the rhymes and songs tell a little story. Where do you think each one takes place? What makes you say that?
What are your favorite songs/rhymes? Which ones do you think you will share with your family?
Nursery rhymes and finger plays are often the first storytelling we share with our children. They celebrate the sounds and rhythms of language, keys to success in reading. In addition to being fun, they help develop listening and language skills. Also, changing positions and spatial orientation stimulates the vestibular system, the sensors in your inner ear. Vestibular stimulation is a crucial developmental process for young children. It can be active and exciting, like jumping, bouncing, or running, or it can be calming, like rocking or swaying. Finger plays are basically nursery rhymes with hand gestures. They each tell a simple story and are long remembered. It is easy to learn to count with a rhyme or even our letters through the alphabet song.
Using simple rhyme, rhythm, repetition, and call and response techniques can serve as an easy way to introduce a second language. Many of us learned our first words of French through the song Frere Jacques.
Using a steady beat or rhythm enhances language acquisition. It also helps children to focus and concentrate, understand space and distance, and even better control their actions and improve behavior. A steady beat is an ongoing, steady, repetitive pulse or cadence. With these rhymes and simple songs, students have the opportunity to speak, move and interactively model language in both Spanish and English.