"Hangin' Loose with Mother Goose!"

"E.D. Hirsh Jr, in his book, Cultural Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know (Houghton Mifflin 1987), suggested that there is a body of knowledge that all Americans need to know to function as literate citizens. The rhymes of Mother Goose have traditionally been a part of the heritage of children growing up in America no matter what their ethnic background" (Bauer 12).

We know that this is not the truth of today's children's heritage. Nursery rhymes seem to have, for the most part, become an "endangered species!" In her book, The Poetry Break, Caroline Feller Bauer comments on how our society has made the effort to protect animal species that are endangered. She points out, "we may have to take organized action to preserve the childhood tradition of nursery rhymes" (12). I believe that today's children (and even many adults) do not know the joys of the traditional verses that are Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes. "Children starting school today are more likely to be conversant with the exploits of the current cartoon characters on film and television than with the adventures of Humpty Dumpty" (Bauer 12).

Let's get started with the effort to preserve the "endangered species" of nursery rhymes! Join with me in the force! Read and recite those rhymes!

I have been conducting a nursery rhyme version of a Poetry Break with kindergarten students at my school for the past few years. "Nursery Rhyme Time" is a 15 - 20 minute mini lesson that I conduct 1 - 3 times per week with kindergarten students. Mother Goose and I bring artifacts, props, and puppets to introduce a new nursery rhyme to a class each week. Mother Goose (a stuffed Mother Goose toy) and I begin by revisiting rhymes that we've already learned, by having a different student "roll a rhyme" on our "Nursery Rhyme Block," select a nursery rhyme puppet from our "Rhyme Box" or whatever other fun recall method we might use. We then make predictions about our new rhyme of the day by examining artifacts and objects that represent parts of the rhyme. I then recite the day's rhyme with motions, dramatization and/or props, masks, or puppets. The children then echo me as we recite the rhyme and finally, we recite and dramatize our nursery rhyme together.

Check out my link to Nursery Rhyme Printables for some of the resources that I use and have created.

Works Cited:
Bauer, Caroline Feller. The Poetry Break An Annotated Anthology With Ideas for Introducing Children to Poetry. New York: H. W. Wilson, 1994. Print.

I always integrated Nursery Rhymes into our daily lives when my children were babies, toddlers, preschoolers and even now (they are now 8 & 10!)
"Sienna eats her peas with honey!"
"Sarah eats her peas with honey, too!"

I eat my peas with honey.
I've done it all my life.
It makes the peas taste funny,
But they stay on the knife!

Nursery Rhymes Web Resources . . .

Check for updates often, I am always evaluating new web pages with nursery rhyme content.

Nursery Rhymes 4U
This site is a bit busy and flashy but it is worth your time. It has an extensive list of rhymes and songs. Many of them feature audio clips. The rhymes are listed by theme or in alphabetical order. Check the navigation bar on the left of the page.

The Virtual Vine
The Virtual Vine was created by a special education teacher that has over 25 years of teaching experience. Cindy's section on nursery rhymes is chock full of her own ideas as well as those of others that she has discovered and used. She shares many resources for nursery rhyme-related material, both print and web based. This site is definitely worth exploring!

Apples 4 the Teacher
This site offers a collection of Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes that is arranged by theme (e.g. rhymes that feature number words). It also allows you to locate rhymes by title (in alphabetical order) or first line of the nursery rhyme.

DLTK-Teach's Nursery Rhymes
This site offers crafts, coloring pages, games and other printables related to a select list of rhymes and songs.

It's Nursery Rhyme Time!
This site was created by a kindergarten teacher in a Kansas City school district. The site offers several activities suggestions and links for several nursery rhymes. There are also a list of links to other Mother Goose sites.

Sparkle Box
This site is sponsored by the BBC. Click on the Nursery Rhymes link which is located under Other Resources and you will find a wealth of printable materials for many nursery rhymes. The color printables will allow you to create rhyme sequence cards, posters, play dough mats, rhyme cards and much more.
Webbing Into Literacy
Created by Dr. Laura B. Smolkin,from the national Center for the Improvement of Early Reading Achievement (CIERA), this site was designed with best practices in mind for teaching literacy skills to Head Start children and their families. The link to "A Rhyme a Week: Nursery Rhymes for Early Literacy," contains extensive lesson plans and printables for 30 week's worth of instruction. The printable items include word family/rhyming word picture/word cards.

Nellie Edge Excellence in Kindergarten
and Early Literacy
An extensive collection of resources, articles, free e-books, links to other literacy resources and much more! The creator of this site is Nellie Edge, a bi-lingual kindergarten teacher, author, presenter and winner of the IRA's Reading Excellence Through the Arts award. This site incorporates music, sign language and art into the teaching of literacy. The following is Nellie's philosophy of literacy:

"It is the familiarity with the English language that allows a child to develop phonemic awareness, build comprehension, and extend vocabulary. It is the familiarity with the English language that allows a child’s decoding to be error-free and their reading to be fluent. Oral language is THE vital foundation that allows us to ‘Put Reading First’ and develop ambitious, thoughtful readers and writers. We teach most powerfully when we celebrate language, involve parents, and honor childhood.” -Nellie Edge

Some Nursery Rhyme Collections . . .

I am always on the look out for nursery rhyme collections (new, used, antique collectible, etc) to add to my collection! As I find them, I'll continue to update this list . . .

Beatrix Potter Nursery Rhyme Book by Beatrix Potter

Diez deditos 10 Little Fingers & Other Play Rhymes and Action Songs from Latin America by Elisa Kleven

Father Gander Nursery Rhymes: The Equal Rhymes Amendment by Father Gander

Here Comes Mother Goose (My Very First Mother Goose) by Iona Opie (Editor)

Hey Diddle Diddle & Other Mother Goose Rhymes by Tomie DePaola

If the Shoe Fits by Alison Jackson

Las nanas de abuelita / Grandmother's Nursery Rhymes by Nelly Palacio Jaramillo (Compiler)

Mother Goose’s Bedtime Rhymes (Honey Bear Books)

Mother Goose’s Kitchen (Honey Bear Books)

My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie (Editor)

Nursery Rhymes From Other Goose: Told In Signed English by Harry Bornstein and Karen L.Saulnier

Read-Aloud Rhymes for the Very Young by Jack Prelutsky (Compiler)

Richard Scarry's Best Mother Goose Ever by Richard Scarry

Sylvia Long's Mother Goose by Sylvia Long (Illustrator)

The Best Hawaiian Style Mother Goose Ever: Hawaii's Version of 14 Very Popular Verses by Kevin Sullivan

The Christian Mother Goose Book of Nursery Rhymes (Christian Mother Goose) by Marjorie Ainsborough Decker

The Complete Book of Rhymes, Songs, Poems, Fingerplays: Over 700 Selections by Jackie Silberg and Pam Schiller

The Movable Mother Goose (Mother Goose Pop-Up) by Robert Sabuda

The Neighborhood Mother Goose by Nina Crews

The Random House Children's Treasury: Fairy Tales, Nursery Rhymes & Nonsense Verse by Alice Mills

The Real Mother Goose by Blanche Fisher Wright

This Little Piggy by Jane Manning (Illustrator)

What Comes In Threes by Marlene Beierle and Anne Sylvan