Reciting nursery rhymes is an ideal way to teach pre-literacy to preschoolers. In a few short verses, they demonstrate rhyming words, alliteration, letter and sound recognition and story telling as well as a whole host of educational concepts.
Recently the children heard Little Boy Blue. They listened to it twice and then were shown prompts so that they were able to help recite the rhyme. To encourage their ability to recognize rhyming words, the prompts were mixed up so that horn and corn were exchanged, sleep and sheep, and I and cry. The children thought this was hilarious. The older ones immediately identified these words as rhyming.
Then the play. Four stations were placed around the room to highlight certain literacy skills.
At the first station there were cardboard horns and corn. Some of the kids pretended to play the horn, others pretended to eat it and vice versa. This encouraged the use of rhyme.
The second station had the letter B (Boy Blue) with different textures. The younger kids were touching them, rearranging them and learning to identify the actual letter, while the older ones traced the letter with their hands. This group were also given paper and pencils in case they wanted to try writing. Many did and were excited to show off their skills.
The third station was a sensory table filled with corn and wooden B's. The kids got to handle the letter and physically feel its shape. This was good for all ages. Again the younger kids were able to identify the letter while the older were aided in writing it.
Lastly and most educational was the hay block. Several lessons were demonstrated at this station. Blue cardboard boys in different sizes were provided. The kids placed them under the hay, on top of the hay, next to the hay, learning about directional prepositions. They also lined the boys in rows. There was the little one, big one, bigger one and biggest one. Finally the oldest group started play acting using the cardboard boys as brothers and creating story lines.
By setting up the stations, the kids were learning some important pre literacy skills. Each age group was able to take something different and educational from the experience, all done through fun and play.