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Are rhymes and story-telling important factors in the development of literacy?

Posted in: News | September 7, 2020

Early literacy is not all about reading and writing. It is about speaking and listening, and without developing strong speaking and listening skills, future progress in reading and writing will be weaker.

Recent research into the development and acquisition of early literacy skills has conclusively shown that rhythm and rhyme play a hugely important role. This is because children’s early literacy skills are about listening and speaking rather than reading and writing. These first two skills are the bedrock foundation for the latter, and create much stronger ability in the latter if ingrained deeply and early on. It’s simply not possible to be a good writer if you don’t first of all have a good vocabulary. Similarly, it’s very hard to learn phonics and sight words if you can’t discriminate sounds and rhyming patterns in an audible way.

You don’t need any specialist equipment or resources to enjoy oral activities such as, songs, rhymes and stories. (Although imagination helps!) Rhymes and songs help teach children, from the very youngest, to understand rhythm, pitch and beat. We encourage our children, especially in preschool, to retell stories to us. The younger children enjoy completing rhymes and familiar phrases in oral stories, and the very youngest ones enjoy repeating a beat by clapping, shouting or banging. This is why music is an integral part of our teaching, here at Tiny Toes.

Rhyming teaches how language works. Anticipation of rhyming words lays the foundations for making predictions in reading. The ability to recognise and produce rhyming words is a vital skill in the development of phonological awareness. Research has shown there is a correlation between phonological awareness and reading ability. Those children who have a strong sense of phonological awareness become much more fluent readers.

‘The Faculty of Early Education ‘ at Canterbury Christ Church University, has shown that oral storytelling is a key part of our lives. When we arrive at/from work, home, school etc. We recount details of our day. We describe, sometimes embellish or exaggerate to make our recounts more interesting/ enjoyable for our audience.

There is a difference between story-telling and story reading and being read to. It is important to remember story telling involves making our own versions of tales.

Reading and writing skills are enhanced by an early understanding of rhyme and story-telling. Skills we help develop here at Tiny Toes.