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Lesson Plan

Growing Readers and Writers with Help from Mother Goose

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Growing Readers and Writers with Help from Mother Goose

Grade K
Lesson Plan Type Recurring Lesson
Estimated Time 5-10 minutes per session
Lesson Author

Devon Hamner

Devon Hamner

Grand Island, Nebraska


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Instruction and Activities

Student Assessment/Reflections



The students will

  • develop a feel for the rhythm of poetry as they recite, chant, and sing the nursery rhymes.

  • connect familiar characters from the nursery rhymes with letters of the alphabet and beginning sounds.

  • recognize and identify rhyming words, noting the familiar chunks in words like Jill and hill or wall and fall.

  • apply these skills in shared and interactive writing, and as they are ready, in their own writing.

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Instruction and Activities

  1. Encourage the students to join with you in reciting and singing familiar nursery rhymes.

    • Help them to develop their feel for the rhythm and rhyme of the poems.

    • Clap the rhythm of the poems.

    • Spend a few minutes each day acting out the poems, chanting them, singing them, etc.

    • Oral fluency develops with practice.
  2. Introduce the nursery rhyme charts.

    • Point to the words as the children recite the poems.

    • Soon the children can use a pointer to help track the words.
  3. Encourage the students to identify the initial consonant sounds and letters of familiar characters such as Jack and Jill /j/, Humpty Dumpty /h/, Little Boy Blue /b/, Mary /m/, and her lamb /l/, etc.

    • Have the students help you highlight the initial letters of the characters with highlighter tape.

    • Add the characters and their names to your Word Wall and refer to them often.

    • You can even have the children draw the pictures of the characters to give them ownership of the Word Wall.

    • When you are doing shared or interactive writing, encourage the students to help you figure out how to spell words. Teach them the strategy of connecting the sound they hear in the word they are trying to spell with one they already know. Example: We want to write the word "motorcycle." Can you think of one of the nursery rhyme characters that started with the same sound that motorcycle starts with? Who can help me write the letter that stands for that sound?

    • Students need to see this strategy modeled many times. They need many opportunities to apply this strategy of matching sounds and finding the key word on the Word Wall. Once they understand the strategy, they may begin to use it in their own writing.

    • When students are writing independently in their journals, encourage them to use the Word Wall to help them spell words. Example: You drew yourself in a hat. What would "hat" start with? Encourage the student to look at the Word Wall to match Humpty Dumpty's first sound with hat's first sound. Identify that sound with the letter Hh.

    • In the beginning, they may only label words with their initial consonant sound; later they may add other sounds they hear in that word. Many students will learn to write sentences as they gain confidence in themselves as writers.
  4. Have the students identify the rhyming words in nursery rhymes.

    • Have them highlight the rhyming words.

    • Encourage them to note the chunks that are the same in each of the rhyming pairs: Ask students to identify which letters are the same in each of the rhyming words. Highlight those letters with a different color of highlighter tape.

    • Help them generate other words that would rhyme. Record the words on a Chunking Chart. Highlight the chunks that make the words rhyme. Example: Using Jack and Jill's hill as the background of the chart, the students can generate other rhyming words to record on the hill that rhyme with "Jill" and "hill".

    • Display the Chunking Charts, add to them as students think of new words to record, and give plenty of opportunities in shared and interactive writing to teach students how to use the Chunking Charts to help them read and write new words.

    • Watch for examples of their use in the students' independent writing.
  5. If you choose to give students their own copies of the nursery rhymes or use any of the prepared small books of nursery rhymes, encourage students to keep these books in their browsing boxes to read during independent reading time.

  6. Encourage students to read the room during center time, including reading the poetry charts.

  7. Visit the Websites listed in the Resources section.

  8. Watch for signs that the students are using the Word Wall and Chunking Charts to help them in their own writing.

  9. Celebrate as your students apply these strategies and skills.

  10. Most of all, celebrate your students as they grow as readers and writers.

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You will need to be a kid-watcher as you observe your students during shared writing and interactive writing experiences and especially during writer's workshop.

Do your students

  • recite the nursery rhymes fluently with a feel for their rhythm and rhyme?

  • understand how to use the Word Wall to help them match sounds and write the letters that represent those sounds?

  • use the Word Wall when writing as part of a group?

  • use the Word Wall when writing independently?

  • identify the rhyming words in the nursery rhymes?

  • generate rhyming words to record on the Chunking Charts?

  • use the Chunking Charts when writing as part of a group?

  • use the Chunking Charts when writing independently?

  • see themselves as readers and writers?

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