I've finally been on the ball for World Book Day. Instead of scrabbling around in the fancy dress box to see what ensemble vaguely resembling a book character I can put together for my little cherubs , I have ordered them brand new and they are laid out ready for tomorrow. I was still cutting it fine as they only arrived today so I'm still not that organised!
Unfortunately they are now old enough to request which character they want to be so I can't get away with dressing them up in whatever we've got anymore, and as much as I'd love to make my own I couldn't cope with that as well as this terms homework project! But I am definitely embracing World Book Day, as I do every year, as it is so important that we celebrate our books make sure children know how valuable they are.
Stories and music easily intertwine and so many memorable books and stories make great use of rhythm and rhyme. Have a look at your child's favourite books and see if the lines rhyme. It's no coincidence that Julia Donaldson's books are so popular, she is a great song-writer too. Rhyming makes children's stories memorable, and it gives children the feeling of familiarity and security that makes them want that same story every night over and over again (we've all been there!). They will also love knowing what comes next and finishing off the lines, just like they do when they sing a familiar songs.
The natural rhythms that occur in rhyming are often similar and predictable so even if the words are different a child will pick up on the familiar rhythm of your voice and get excited by it. The more expression you put in the more exciting it will be for them. Rhythm and rhyme also makes the text easier for adults to read too so we don't trip over our words like we might with a more complex sentence - let's face it, we're not all confident readers but don't let that put you off reading to your child.
Rhyming stories are great for developing children's phonological awareness, the attention to sounds that make up words, and this is what will help them to talk, read and write. Both of my children have gone through a stage where they are fascinated with rhyme and experiment with their own rhyming words, even if they are made up or incorrect. Look out for your child showing an awareness of rhyme and be amazed at how many simple rhymes they have already learnt by heart.
In Baby Beats classes for World Book Day this year I have chosen Going on a Bear Hunt as it has so much repetition it is great as a chant that the children and parents can all join in with, even if they don't know it. There are some lovely rhythms and sounds too and opportunity for being loud, quiet, fast and slow. If you can't make it to a class join me live on my Facebook page at 6.30pm on Thursday 7th March for a “story-song” at home.