Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Mother Goose Day

Yesterday was another day devoted to reading. It was Mother Goose Day! Of course, the first thing Jake asked was "Who is Mother Goose?" I explained that Mother Goose is not really a "who," but a collection of stories and nursery rhymes. While they didn't recognize her name, they knew her stories - Little Bo Peep, Jack & Jill, and Humpty Dumpty, to name a few. The Mother Goose name was first coined in the 1600s in France. Fairy Tales like The Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Little Red Riding Hood were translated to English in 1729. 

Years ago, when I taught first grade in a private school, I was surprised that most of the kids didn't know the nursery rhymes. Writings like Hickory Dickory Dock, Jack Be Nimble, and Three Blind Mice were all but ignored. I vowed to ensure that the literature would be taught to my own children. Now, I'm not advocating teaching the speculated meanings behind some of the rhymes, but the older literature is great for teaching vocabulary. For instance, as we read Simple Simon yesterday, we talked about the line "Let me taste your ware." My kids didn't know that ware was referring to the goods that one sells, in this case, pies. 

We spent a good portion of the day reading through and discussing many rhymes and stories. Some were very familiar; others were very new.  Also, there are many different version of the rhymes in which the words have been changed over the years. Jake made sure to "correct" me when I read something that was written different from the way he knew it. If you take the time to really think about the words, you might be surprised. Lullabies that we think of as soothing, may be a little disturbing.

Rock-a-bye baby,
on the tree top!
When the wind blows
the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks
the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby,
cradle and all.

After we finished reading it, Jake said, "That's kinda sad."

When we weren't reading the rhymes, we were listening to them.  Wee Sing Nursery Rhymes and Lullabies takes 77 rhymes and sets them to a story. The listener follows Georgie Porgie, Jack & Jill, and Mary as they travel to King Cole's birthday. We've been listening to this CD for years, and it never seems to get old.


So, grab your kids and some Mother Goose books and spend quality time reading. Not only will it be a good bonding experience, but a good teaching one as well. Plus, you'll be making precious memories and getting in snuggles at the same time!

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