Hi all,  I am Beth and I present the weekly Pram Jam rhyme session at Coolbellup Library on Mondays during school terms, 10.00am < a little plug! (and a late edit for a recent change – Beth, Feb 2015)

Today I am focussing on the importance of repetition when singing and reading with our babies, and why, though it may seem strange to us – especially knowing how many books and songs we can choose from – repeating the same song or book again and again is necessary, reassuring and comforting to our little ones.

In our house we have a shelf of books which are chosen at storytime over and over and over again – the Hairy Maclarys, the Gruffalos, all of the Mem Foxs, the books with the repetitive rhythmic text that my children can ‘read’ before they can really read. For my children these books provide a predictable adventure, they know when my voice will get low and scary, they know when the tempo will increase and as the book comes to an end they can hear the calming, settled tones that indicate ‘conclusion, rest now’. Emotionally this is very comforting for them, and being able to tell the story from the pictures is an important connection for their brains to make, joining up text and images.

One of our all time favourites which suits the 0-2 age group is Good night, sleep tight / written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek, which is a simple story of bedtime with a babysitter featuring a series of rhymes among repetitive text.

goodnightsleeptight

And how many times have you read The very hungry caterpillar / written by Eric Carle?  We never tire of it here, and with little babies the holes in the food pages are perfect for little fingers so here’s a link to the board book version 😉

hungrycaterpillarcover

Rote learning is one of the key steps in language development and all learning. It’s how we all know our phone numbers, pin codes and (ahem) credit card numbers for online shopping (oops). We work on the same idea at Pram Jam, choosing from a base group of rhymes and songs which we repeat each session, and adding in a short story and additional rhymes depending on the needs of the day. By singing Zoom Zoom Zoom again and again and again, your baby learns the pattern of counting backwards from 5 to 1 (or 10 to 1) and knows that blasting off is fun (after perhaps feeling shocked the first couple of times!).

Zoom Zoom Zoom!

Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going very soon
If you want to take a trip
Climb aboard my rocket ship
Zoom, zoom, zoom
We’re going to the moon
5 – 4 – 3 – 2 – 1
BLAST OFF!!!
 

Another really easy song to sing again and again is The Wheels on the Bus, because you can change it up as much as you like between the verses – the people can change, the destination can change, the parts on the bus can change!

The Wheels on the Bus

The wheels on the bus go round and round,
round and round, round and round
The wheels on the bus go round and round,
all the way to town.
The people on the bus go up and down…
The wipers on the bus go swish swish swish…
The babies go the bus go gah gah gah…
 

Repetition provides babies with the framework of our language, those choice phrases that will become first words are no doubt the comments or songs that you share with your baby countless times a day – here we have ‘twinkle twinkle’, ‘all done’, ‘more please’ or perhaps ‘up bubba!’ – what are your go to songs, are your babies babbling any words back to you?