Building language sound by sound

First 5 Forever Cloud White

Did you know that babies need to hear a wide variety of words starting from birth so that they can learn how to make and use the 44 speech sounds required to talk?

Did you also know that amazingly nursery rhymes contain all 44 speech sounds and singing them with young children and babies everyday is a perfect way to build language skills and speech? You don’t have to sing all the rhymes you know every day - but there’s definitely time to try out your favourites and a few classics as you go about your daily activities.

Nursery rhymes also use repetition, so children are hearing the individual sounds multiple times. The next time you sing a nursery rhyme with your child or baby, try slowing it down. When you slow down you give your little one the time to process what you are saying and to hear the individual sounds. To value add to the activity, you can position yourself to face them so they can see how you form the words and sounds with your lips and mouth.  

As your child becomes more familiar with the rhyme trying to substitute different words or point out rhyming words like wall and fall from the classic rhyme, Humpty Dumpty. You can even make up your own funny rhymes – this is comedy gold for the under fives.  

The best thing about nursery rhymes are they are portable, you can sing them anywhere at any time, even if you’re not the best singer, your child will think you’re a superstar and will love the fact that you are sharing songs and enjoying being with them.  

First 5 Forever sessions are free at your local library! Join other families and enjoy a fun adventure with your little one.


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Thank you for these valuable articles. I use them often with my toddlers.