Singing rhymes or songs is a good way to help your child learn new sounds and words through rhyme and repetition, as well as being a great way to have fun together! Looking at books with songs in them helps you to decide which songs to sing and supports children to remember the words by having interesting pictures to look at.
Nursery rhyme books can be a great way to learn traditional rhymes such as Hush Little Baby, Row Row Row Your Boat and Old Macdonald Had a Farm.
Books based on nursery rhymes can also be a fun way to help you make up your own songs and rhymes. The Whales on the Bus by Katrina Charman and Nick Sharratt takes the original rhyme of The Wheels on the Bus and adds new funny rhyming verses. You could also try adding your own verses to the song.
Some books are written to be sung, such as The Animal Boogie by Fred Penner and Down By the Station by Jennifer Riggs Vetter. There are also books that have songs within them, such as The Smartest Giant in Town by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler. This book repeats part of the story in song format but adds new details each time, helping your child to retell the story in a multi-sensory way. You can sing the song in any tune that you like and can even make up a different tune each time you read it.
You can even turn any book into a song book by singing some or all of the words. Books that work well include Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin Jr and Dinosaur Roar by Paul and Henrietta Stickland. You may find that your child is more engaged and keen to join in if you sing the words.
Top tips for reading books with songs:
- Point out the pictures that link with the song and add some actions.
- Don’t worry about your singing voice! The more you sing with your child, the more confident you will become.
- If you know another language, you might enjoy singing in that language that too.
- Turn any book into a song book by singing all or some of the words.