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Meeting the Standards with Nursery Rhymes

Rigor, standards, and testing- oh my! Somewhere along the way nursery rhymes have fallen by the wayside. Did you know that nursery rhymes provide opportunities to develop many important academic skills? Their rich language, rhythm, and rhyme help young children develop an awareness of sounds that creates a strong foundation for future reading success.

Nursery rhymes are usually very short, which also makes them perfect for teaching skills such as identifying characters and setting, problem and solution, and beginning, middle, end. Do you know what else is very short? The attention span of a young child- it’s a win-win!

Here are some ways you can use nursery rhymes to teach academic skills:

Problem/Solution- Jack and Jill

Ask children what the problem is in this rhyme (they fell down). Ask them to brainstorm some things Jack and Jill might do to prevent them from falling next time. Record their responses on a large sheet of green paper cut in the shape of a hill. Look out- their answers just might surprise you!

Beginning, Middle, and End- Humpty Dumpty

  • What happened in the beginning of this rhyme? Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall
  • What happened in the middle? Humpty Dumpty had a great fall
  • What happened at the end? They couldn’t put him together again

4 Corners Printable Game

I created this printable activity to help teach characters and story details to young children using nursery rhymes. Click on the image above to download your copy with instructions. The adorable images in this document are courtesy of Frog Street Press.

If you find this printable helpful leave some comment love below, pin it, like it and shout it from the rooftops! Don’t forget to check out the great nursery rhyme resources here at Frog Street Press. Maybe if you’re really nice they will consider creating a nursery rhyme app!


Vanessa Levin is the creator of Pre-K Pages and author of the book A Fabulous First Year and Beyond: A Practical Guide for Pre-K and Kindergarten Teachers. She has more than two decades of teaching experience and enjoys helping young children and teachers through her professional development sessions. You can follow Vanessa on Facebook, Google + and Pinterest.