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Many of the nursery rhymes contain common word families. You can use these rhymes to teach these letter combinations (and how they are spelled and spoken), having the students sound them out after memorizing the rhyme. For a list of some common word families and a list of the word families contained in some nursery rhymes, click here. You can study one word family a week. Students can use the Little Explorers Picture Dictionary to look for more words that belong to word families.
In an Internet scavenger hunt, the students use the computer to find the answers to questions. For a Nursery Rhyme Scavenger Hunt, click here. This wonderful scavenger hunt was written by Karel Palmer, ESOL teacher, R.I.S.D. Academy, Richardson, TX, USA.
As a related activity, have the children draw pictures about the rhymes or make simple paper, craft stick, or paper bag puppets of the main characters and objects mentioned in the rhymes. The children could then use their puppets while singing the rhyme to act out the rhyme while they sing it. Many rhymes are great for this, including Hickory Dickory Dock, Humpty Dumpty, Jack and Jill, Little Miss Muffet, and many others.
Some rhymes (like "The Itsy Bitsy Spider") are great to read while using related finger motions.
Craft Stick Puppets:
To make a simple paper puppet, draw a picture of a character or object on paper (stiff paper like oak tag works a lot better than ordinary paper). Then cut the drawing along its edges and tape it to a craft (popsicle) stick.
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