Celebrate Language and Accelerate Literacy
Nursery Rhymes and Childhood Chants Develop Phonemic Awareness
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Rebus charts support children as they transition from "magical memory reading" to paying focused attention to print. Rebus pictures help emergent readers self-correct.


See You Later, Alligator is a favorite echo or call-response chant that brings a playful ending to the day. We give each child a copy of this rhyme to illustrate for their “I Can Read” Poetry Notebooks.

Memorizing songs and rhymes helps children internalize familiar language patterns and develop oral language fluency.

Our Studies Are Made Richer Through the Memorable Language of Poetry

Classroom songs, poems and rhymes connect children with the natural world outside the classroom. We observe and reflect on changes in the seasons and weather through the images and metaphors of poetry.

(Copyright law allows teachers to make one copy of any song, poem or rhyme for classroom use without securing copyright permission from the author or publisher.)

Celebrate spring with pussy willows. Give children the gift of this poem when they bring you the first pussy willows of spring. Children love to feel the pussy willows on their cheek —
smooth as satin, soft and sleek.”

A feather is a letter from a bird ... ” inspires the imagination as children begin studying birds. Our studies awaken children's love of nature
and create compelling reasons for them to want to read and write.

Repetitive Language Supports Children as Readers and Writers
The traditional rhyme November provides a repetitive pattern for successful shared reading,
interactive writing and teaching the words “no” and “yes.” Simple illustrations provide scaffolding to support English language learners and emergent readers.
Kindergarteners “share the pen” with their teacher and interactively create language charts. What can we say “yes” to in November?
Active literacy engages children. During group interactive writing, while one child shares the pen with the teacher, the other children use a dry erase board to practice their developing writing skills.
Children Thrive with Active Multisensory Literacy Experiences
Fingerspelling provides a memory hook for letters, sounds and words. We develop automaticity with the skills that build successful readers and writers.
Children learn high-frequency words “by heart” through active, imaginative strategies that include sign language and singing. For spelling fluency, they learn the “L-O-V-E Spells Love” song. (See video)
Using one systematic and consistent ABC sign language and phonics program accelerates knowledge of the alphabetic principle. This boy is reading The ABC Sign Language and Phonics Song by Nellie Edge. He practices using the same multisensory letter/sound book, chart and flashcards at home and at school. We see amazing results!
Boys and girls thrive with active learning. Children like to write the room using their own pencil and clipboard. They use pointers and “word catchers” to find high-frequency (“by heart”) words as they “read the walls” in their language-rich classroom.
Children Celebrate Language in All Its Forms: From Dancing and Singing to Handjiving and Signing Memorable Songs
With happy hearts we dance and sing. Often the words to our dances become class books that are read and reread with great delight. Learning simple dances together helps build a community of friends. We give children multiple avenues for joyful learning.
Handjiving helps children internalize the rhythms of sound so they'll become more fluent speakers and readers. After singing and handjiving to Miss Mary Mack the children are eager to read the Big Book.
The Magic of Signing Songs Enhances All
Children's Language and Literacy
. American Sign Language is a joyful expression of meaning. Singing and signing songs builds speaking skills and makes memorable parent performances.
Sign language focuses children and adds powerful hooks to long term memory.

Oral language fluency is the vital
foundation needed for literacy success.

Kindergartners See Themselves As Writers — And So Do Their Teachers
Making important signs (“Do not touch”) is a part of cooperative block building. Kidwriting becomes kids’ play.
Real literacy tasks engage children. The “Susie Haas name ticket strategy” teaches efficient handwriting and letter recognition. Then we provide authentic reasons for children to want to print their names clearly.
Book making is something children naturally love to do. It becomes an empowering reason to write.
Children write important messages, and create thank you notes and birthday cards during Literacy Work Center time.
Kindergarten is Still a Child’s Garden: Even our Libraries are Playful and Inviting
Children choose to read because they learn to love books! Cozy class libraries and delightful “Reading Corners” are a vital part of our engaging learning environment.
Learning to read is a social activity in kindergarten. A responsive and language-intensive environment invites children to make choice and work cooperatively. Friendships — and literacy — blossom and bloom.

Special thanks for inspiration and photos to Becky Leber, Julie Lay, Joanie Cutler, Jeff James,
Kathie Bridges, Jennifer Foster, Susan Ventura and Laura Flocker.

Exerpts from Celebrate Language and Accelerated Literacy:
High Expectations • Joyful Learning • Proven Strategies (Seminar and Literacy Manual)

by Nellie Edge ©2008

For additional information see the following articles and resources:
“Magical Memory Reading” Precedes Guided Reading Instructions
How to Use the Neurological Impress Method (NIM) to Build Oral Reading Fluency
Defining Excellence in Kindergarten and Early Literacy
The SMILE Approach to Accelerated Learning
Developing Phonemic Awareness and Phonics Skills
Celebrate Language and Accelerate Literacy Previous Seminar Flier and Registration Form (pdf format)