Tag Archives: Reading to children

Creative Juice #303

Creative Juice #303

Heavy on quilt articles this week. And other stuff too.

Video of the Week #354: R is for Reading Aloud to Children


I may have posted this in the past, but this is such an important issue, it bears repeating.

Nursery Rhymes are Terrific!

Nursery Rhymes are Terrific!

I was born about seven months after my parents emigrated to the United States from Germany. One of the many things my mother did right (probably at the suggestion of the neighborhood moms) was read to me every day. This practice helped her strengthen her English language skills and also introduce me to what would become my primary tongue.

One of the books she read over and over was Mother Goose. I heard it so many times that I knew it by heart. She capitalized on my memorization by running the tip of her finger under the words as she read, so that even as a toddler I connected the words I heard to the visual representation of them, and began to recognize them in different contexts.

When my children were little, I also read to them twice a day, before naps and bedtime, and Mother Goose rhymes were a staple. (So were Dr. Seuss books.) All five were readers before they entered kindergarten.

During my first elementary general music teaching career (right out of college in the 1970s), I often used nursery rhymes in musical exercises to develop rhythmic and melodic awareness. Most of my students were familiar with them. However, when I returned to the classroom (after a 27-year break during which I raised my children), few students knew of Mary, Mary quite contrary or Humpty Dumpty. I know the rhymes are from a different age, but why has Mother Goose fallen out of the childhood canon? Nursery rhymes are a tradition we cannot afford to lose.

Why nursery rhymes are important:

  • They introduce the concept of story.
  • They encourage listening skills and comprehension.
  • They are easy to memorize. The brain subconsciously recognizes patterns in the rhymes and the rhythms.
  • They stimulate language and vocabulary acquisition.
  • They introduce numbers and counting. (One, two, three, four, five, once I caught a fish alive. Six, seven, eight, nine, ten, then I let it go again.)
  • They often suggest hand or body motions that boost motor skills. (Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake, baker’s man; or Ring around the rosie, a pocket full of posie, ashes, ashes, we all fall down.)
  • Many nursery rhymes are associated with melodies (Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star; Here We Go ‘Round the Mulberry Bush; Hey Diddle, Diddle, the Cat and the Fiddle), or are easy to make into a song.

To learn more about nursery rhymes, read further:

What? You don’t know any nursery rhymes? Bless your heart—here are 50 rhymes you can start learning today!

Now it’s your turn. Did you grow up reciting Mother Goose rhymes? Did you read or teach them to your children? Do you think they should remain part of standard children’s literature? Or could you suggest books of more modern rhymes (maybe the poetry of Shel Silverstein, for example) that would make suitable updates? Share in the comments below.

Video of the Week #336: Storytime


Gather the kids! Send a link to your grandchildren.

In the Meme Time: Reading Magic


Creative Juice #334

Creative Juice #334

You can’t fail to be inspired by these wonderful articles.

Creative Juice #124

Creative Juice #124

Great ideas to get your creative mojo going this weekend.

  1. Two quilt shows.
  2. Cuba in photographs.
  3. Beautiful paintings and drawings by David Harrison.
  4. Lovely tangles.
  5. Paper creatures.
  6. I don’t understand all these artsy apps, but they’re cool.
  7. Reading aloud to older children is beneficial, too.
  8. The stuff at thrift stores just keeps getting better.
  9. Stephen King takes a stand in favor of book reviews in the local newspaper, and his fans support him—and subscribe to the newspaper.
  10. Design trends for 2019.
  11. Photos of forest fauna in Finland.
  12. When life gives you snow, make a snow sculpture.

Books to Share with your Children at Christmastime

Books to Share with your Children at Christmastime

Reading to your children is beneficial in so many ways. During the frenetic weeks before the holidays, turning off the smartphone and reading to your kids is a great way to slow down and focus on the joy of the season and build memories with your family.

I still remember my mother reading The Night Before Christmas by Clement C. Moore. Our copy was a beat-up hand-me-down from another family, which at one time had been a beautifully designed pop-up book. I bought a new, simpler version for our children.

Night before Christmas

I also bought them a bunch of Christmas-themed Little Golden Books. (Do they even make them anymore?) My favorite was one that existed when I was a child, Rudoph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, adapted from Robert L. May’s story by Barbara Shook Hazen, beautifully illustrated by Richard Scarry.


If you’re Christian, a book about the nativity is a must. There are literally hundreds of them out there; pick one with beautiful illustrations. Or if you can’t find one specifically about Christ’s birth, I suggest Donna Clark Goodrich’s My Rhyme-Time Bible for Little Ones.

Rhyme Time Bible

Another classic you must read to your kids: A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. Did you know that Dickens also wrote The Life of Our Lord for his own children? It was published posthumously in 1934 and makes an excellent gift.

If you like to laugh out loud, I recommend The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson. Any child who’s ever been in a Christmas pageant will identify, and the Herdman kids are a hoot and a half. It also gives parents a chance to talk about how to treat people who are different than us.

best Christmas Pageant

Need some more suggestions? I listed my eight favorite Christmas books here. (There’s some overlap, but five I didn’t mention in this article.)