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There was an old lady...



Why rhymes matter

  • Rhymes support children’s language and communication skills.

  • They help children’s listening skills and also their speech sounds.

  • They raise children’s ‘phonological awareness’ – a skill involved in reading. This is the ability to identify and use parts of spoken words, such as syllables (‘sis-ter’) and letters (‘c-u-p’), as well as sound patterns in words, such as rhymes (‘cat’, ‘mat’, ‘sat’) and alliteration (‘she sells seashells on the seashore’).

  • Rhymes also build children’s social skills when they are said or sung with others.


Tips for sharing nursery rhymes

  • Say or sing rhymes. And don’t be embarrassed about your singing!

  • Emphasise the beat (pulse) and rhythm.

  • Draw children’s attention to the various rhyming words.

  • Vary the pace you say the rhyme.

  • Slowing down will help children to hear rhymes more clearly.

  • Have fun with the words. Change some of the words or pause before a word to see if the child can say it.

  • Share rhymes


Suggestions for sharing this rhyme

  • Explain to the children that this is a rhyme

  • Say the rhyme slowly if they are not familiar with it already. Then repeat it and see if children can join in.

  • Emphasise rhyming words

  • Try missing out the ‘word'and see if children can fill it in.

  • Talk about what the rhyme is telling us


Suzanne is telling the story with help from her dog Stan.


It’s perfect for practising coloursfarm animals and pets and learning chunks such as, ‘I don’t know why’ and ‘there was a’. It can also help in internalising relative clause structures.





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