Nursery Rhymes


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.

Center for Early Literacy Learning (CELL). “Children’s experiences with nursery rhymes promote
early phonological and print-related skills development.” 

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.

Qaddos, M., Saleem, N., & Khan, M. Z. (2020). Role of Animated vs. Oral Mother Goose Songs in Language Acquisition of Pre-School Kids. Global Mass Communication Review4, 1-12.

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.

Sadlier, W. H. O. (2000). Nursery rhymes and phonemic awareness. Retrieved on January25, 2010.  “Hearing, learning, and reciting Mother Goose nursery rhymes can help young children take the first steps toward becoming proficient readers.”

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 MGOL’s YouTube Channel with video clips of librarians presenting nursery rhymes in a wide variety of ways.

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

Nursery Rhyme BLOGS and webpages