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Lesson Plan

Word Recognition Strategies Using Nursery Rhymes

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Grades K – 2
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Four 20-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Jennifer Prior, Ph.D.

Jennifer Prior, Ph.D.

Flagstaff, Arizona


International Literacy Association



From Theory to Practice



Nursery rhymes are the perfect vehicle for teaching word families because they are rich with examples of rhyming words. In this lesson, students learn to identify written words with similar endings by singing and reciting nursery rhymes. Students begin by reciting Humpty Dumpty, identifying two words with similar ending sounds, and creating their own lists of words with the same ending sound. Students repeat this procedure with words from Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater and Jack and Jill. Finally, students access a website to identify the word families featured in other nursery rhymes and then create an illustration and text based on their favorite nursery rhyme.

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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, 332335.

  • Children benefit from both direct phonics instruction and the reading and discussion of texts.

  • Children entering first grade with minimal reading skill seem to have the greatest success with the following practices: modeling of chunking, sounding, and blending, comparing and contrasting words sounds and spelling patterns, and small group lessons.

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