Nursery rhymes are wonderful vehicles to use with young children. Below, some studies are listed about the value of using nursery rhymes with children.


Bennett, P. (2010). Rhyme play: Playing with children and mother goose. Van Nuys, CA: Alfred Publishing.

Bland, Janice. “Grammar Templates with Poetry for Children.” Teaching English to Young Learners: Critical Issues in Language Teaching with 3-12 Year Olds. London and New York: Bloomsbury Academic, 2015. 147-66. Print.

Bradley, L. and Bryant, P.E. 1983. “Categorising sounds and learning to read. Nature 301: 419-421. – demonstrates the strong link between knowledge of nursery rhymes and aspects of learning how to read.

Bradley, L. and Bryant, P.E. 1985. Children’s Reading Problems. Oxford: Blackwells. – demonstrates the strong link between knowledge of nursery rhymes and aspects of learning how to read

Bryant, Peter. “Sensitivity to onset and rhyme does predict young children’s reading: a comment on Muter, Hulme, Snowling, and Taylor (1997).” Journal of Experimental Child Psychology 71.1 (1998): 29-37.

Bryant, P.D., M. MacLean, L. Bradley, & J. Crossland.  1990.  “Rhyme and Alliteration, Phoneme Detection, and Learning to Read.”  Developmental Psychology 26:3, 429-438.

Bryant, P. E., L. Bradley, M. Maclean, and J. Crossland. “Nursery Rhymes, Phonological Skills and Reading.” J. Child Lang. Journal of Child Language 16.02 (1989): 407. Web.

Cass-Beggs, Barbara   1991.  “How Music is First Introduced.”  Ostinato, vol 17, (January): 120-121.

Cardany, Audrey Berger. “Nursery rhymes in music and language literacy.”General Music Today (2012): 1048371312462869.

Clay. M.  (1990). Eggheads vote Humpty a winner. Speld News, 5.

Cook, G. “Language Play, Language Learning.” ELT Journal 51.3 (1997): 224-31. Web

DeCastro, Amy, and Jennifer Kern. Teaching Language Arts through Nursery Rhymes. Westminster, CA: Teacher Created Materials, 2001. Print.

Delamar, G. (1987). Mother Goose from Nursery to Literature. Jefferson, NC: McFarland.  – talks about ‘the importance for these verses as part of early school training)

Dickinson, David K., et al. “The comprehensive language approach to early literacy: The interrelationships among vocabulary, phonological sensitivity, and print knowledge among preschool-aged children.” Journal of Educational Psychology 95.3 (2003): 465.

Dunst, C., Meter, D., & Hamby, D. W. (2011). Relationship between young children’s nursery rhyme experiences and knowledge and phonological and print-related abilities. Center for Early Literacy Learning4(1), 1-12.

Feierabend, John. “Music in Early Childhood.” Design For Arts in Education 91, no. 6 (1990): 15-20. doi:10.1080/07320973.1990.9934833.

Fernandez-Fein, S., & Baker, L. (1997). Rhyme and alliteration sensitivity and relevant experiences among preschoolers from diverse backgrounds. Journal of Literacy Research29(3), 433-459.

Gerry, David, Andrea Unrau, and Laurel J. Trainor. “Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development.” Developmental Science (2012).

Goswami, U. (1999). Causal connections in beginning reading: The importance of rhyme. Journal of Research in Reading22(3), 217-240.

Goswami, U. (2001). Early phonological development and the acquisition of literacy. Handbook of early literacy research1, 111-125.

Griffith, Kathlyn. “NURSERY RHYMES: Everything old is new again.” In: Thinking Through the Arts by Wendy Schiller, (2000): 86-95.,

Hall, Dorothy P. and Patricia M. Cunningham. 1997. Month-By-Month Reading and Writing for Kindergarten: Systematic, Multilevel Instruction. Greensboro, NC: Carson-Dellosa Publishing. – Includes examples of ways teachers and parents can use nursery rhymes to introduce children to rhythm and rhyme


Hamner, D. “Growing Readers and Writers with Help from Mother Goose – ReadWriteThink.” NCTE, 2003. Web. 21 July 2015.

Harper, L. J. (2011). Nursery rhyme knowledge and phonological awareness in preschool children. The Journal of Language and Literacy Education7(1), 63-78.

Johnson, J. L., & Hayes, D. S. (1987). Preschool children’s retention of rhyming and nonrhyming text: Paraphrase and rote recitation measures. Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology8(3), 317-327. – studied the effect that rhyme has on young children’s short-term retention of story narratives. 

Johnston, R. S., Anderson, M., & Holligan, C. (1996). Knowledge of the alphabet and explicit awareness of phonemes in pre-readers: The nature of the relationship. Reading and writing8(3), 217-234.

Juel, C., & Minden-Cupp, C. (1999/2000). One down and 80,000 to go: Word recognition instruction in the primary grades. The Reading Teacher, 53, 332–335.

Kenney, Susan. “Nursery Rhymes: Foundation for Learning.” General Music Today 19.1 (2005): 28-31.

Lefebvre, P., Bolduc, J., & Pirkenne, C. (2015). Pilot Study on Kindergarten Teachers’ Perception of Linguistic and Musical Challenges in Nursery Rhymes. Journal for Learning through the Arts: A Research Journal on Arts Integration in Schools and Communities11(1).

Lerer, Seth. Children’s Literature: A Reader’s History, from Aesop to Harry Potter. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2008.

Lukens, R. (1995) A Critical handbook of Children’s Literature  (5th ed), New York: HarperCollins. -sees nursery rhymes as a viable precursor to the study of poetry

Lundberg, I., Frost, J., & Petersen, O. P. (1988). Effects of an extensive program for stimulating phonological awareness in preschool children. Reading Research Quarterly, 263-284.

Lynn, Joanne L. “Runes to ward off sorrow: rhetoric of the English nursery rhyme.” Children’s Literature in Education 16.1 (1985): 3-14.

MacLean, M., P. Bryant, and L. Bradley.  1987.  “Rhymes, Nursery Rhymes, and Reading in Early Childhood.”  Merill-Palmer Quarterly 33, No. 3: 255-281.

Monro, F. (Senior Speech-Language Pathologist). Nursery rhymes, songs and early language development. Interior Health Authority

Neuman, S. B. (2004). Learning from poems & rhymes. Scholastic Parent & Child, 12 (3), 32.

Nodelman, P. (1996) The Pleasures of Children’s Literature (2nd ed) New York: Longman.– explores explore the potential of nursery rhymes in psychoanalytical terms

Opie, I,  and Opie P. (eds) 1980. The Oxford Dictionary of Nursery rhymes. Oxford: Oxford University Press–comprehensive research into the origins of nursery rhymes and their place in the history and development of children’s literature

Partridge, Susan. “Nursery Rhymes, a Pathway to Reading?.” (1992).

Paulsen, Kara. The Effects of Nursery Rhymes on the Acquisition of Beginning Reading Skills by Emerging Readers. Cedar Rapids: Graceland U, 2008. Print.

 Prošić-Santovac, Danijela. “Making the Match: Traditional Nursery Rhymes and Teaching English to Modern Children.” Making the Match: Traditional Nursery Rhymes and Teaching English to Modern Children. Children’s Literature in English Language Education (CLELEjournal), 2015. Web. 21 July 2015.

Pullen, P. C., & Justice, L. M. (2003). Enhancing phonological awareness, print awareness, and oral language skills in preschool children. Intervention in school and clinic39(2), 87-98.

Reichertz, Ronald. “The Generative Power of Nursery Rhymes.” Children’s Literature Association Quarterly 19.3 (1994): 100-104.

Reilly, V., and S. Ward. Very Young Learners. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2003. Print.

Rollin, L. (1992). Cradle and All: A cultural and Psychoanalytic Reading. Jackson: University Press of Mississippi. – explores the potential of nursery rhymes in cultural and analytic terms.

Shilling, Wynne A. “Mathematics, Music and Movement: Exploring Concepts and Connections.” Early Childhood Education Journal 29, no. 3 (Spring 2002): 179-84. doi:10.1023/A:1014536625850.

Sizer, Michael. “The Surprising Meaning and Benefits of Nursery Rhymes.” PBS. Accessed July 23, 2015.

Tudge, Joanna  “How to Choose a Goose.” The Horn Book Magazine; Jan/Feb 2008; 84,1: Research Library Core pg. 49-57.

Vandergrif, Kay E. “A Diller, A Dollar.” ECLIPSE. Accessed July 23, 2015.

Whitehead, M. (1993). Born again phonics and nursery rhyme revival. English in Education 27:3, 42-51.

Nursery Rhymes for Use in Mother  Goose on the Loose Programs:

Click here to access video clips of librarians presenting nursery rhymes in a wide variety of ways.


Nursery Rhyme BLOGS and webpages