BAA, BAA, BLACK SHEEP
Have you any wool?
Yes, marry, have I,
One for my master,
Who cries in the lane.
The reason why? Probably to numerous to mention here. But the short answer is three fold:
- Phonemic Awareness: This can be taught implicitly like when you read or recite these rhymes to children; or explicitly, when you make children aware that spoken language is comprised of sentences, words, or individual sounds. Children who are unable to hear rhymes in words are likely to have difficulty learning to read later on. Supporting research: Phonemic Awareness
- Book Talk: The kinds of word choices and syntax used in nursery rhymes is more sophisticated (the formal register of language) than in everyday language (the casual register of language). This exposes children to academic language and builds stamina for memory Supporting research: Memory's role in reading Reading Skills IRA Handout check out this Power Point by Beth Phillips from Florida Center for Reading Research (FCRR) on Emergent Literacy Emergent Literacy
- Core Knowledge: Children need to have shared experiences in literacy. They build on what they know. This thinking is inspired by Hirsch who created the idea of cultural literacy. He also believes that a child should acquire a broad vocabulary because it is "an index to broad knowledge, and broad knowledge, extended over time, is the key to depth of knowledge and to a general ability to learn new things" Supporting rsearch - Cultural Literacy