About A-Rhyme-A-Week

About A-Rhyme-A-Week Instruction

Thirty Featured A-Rhyme-A-Week Units and Downloadables

Why Use Classic Nursery Rhymes?

WIL's Thirty Most Frequently Occurring Rimes and Rhymes

Seventy-One Additional Rhyme Cards for the WIL Home-School Book Reading Program

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ABOUT A-Rhyme-A-Week

If "an apple a day will keep the doctor away", then perhaps a-rhyme-a-week will keep school failure at bay. WIL's A-Rhyme-a-Week phonological awareness program features 30 different nursery rhymes. The phonograms or "rimes" emphasized in our program were first identified by Richard Wylie and Donald Durrell in 1970. Examining a list of 1, 437 words commonly spoken by children in primary grades (Murphy, 1957), Wylie and Durrell identified 37 rimes that accounted for almost 500 words of Murphy's list. In determining the order of rhymes and rimes to present each week, we are following Fry's (1998) suggested consideration of frequency.

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A-Rhyme-A-Week Instruction

Understanding A-Rhyme-A-Week Components

Thirty Featured A-Rhyme-A-Week Units and Downloadables


Understanding A-Rhyme-A-Week Components

We at WIL provide four different types of downloadable items each week for use with A-Rhyme-A-Week:

  • the featured nursery rhyme card
  • the rhyming picture sets
  • Riddle Rhymes
  • lesson plans

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat 4.0, you must download it to open and use our PDF files.

Although you can use these materials in any way that suits your individual needs, here is how we have used them with our New Mexico Head Start partners:

1. Download the featured nursery rhyme card. We've enlarged the card to an 11x17 size (and laminated the card) to make a poster-size version.

2. Download the picture card set. We've laminated these as well to add to their durability. We've also been punched holes so the cards can be used to create rhyming books for the classroom library. The last card in each set ("Our ILL Book", for example) serves as the cover.

3. Download the Riddle Rhyme Cards.

4. Download the Lesson Plans. Lesson Plans follow approximately the same format each week.

On Mondays, we revisit favorite rhymes, then introduce this week's new rhyme. Whenever we've been able to locate the tune, we teach children the rhyme through song. We also chant the rhyme, and work on its rhythm.

On Tuesdays, we emphasize acting out the rhyme, using our various Monday chants to provide the accompaniment for our "actors".

On Wednesdays, we introduce the rhyming picture set, explaining the new vocabulary that comes with the picture set.

On Thursdays, we work with the picture sets and the Riddle Rhymes.

On Fridays, we review, using new Riddle Rhymes, acting out, singing, and chanting.

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Thirty Featured A-Rhyme-A-Week Units and Downloadables

Below we present 28 of the 30 weekly units of instruction for the A-Rhyme-A-Week curriculum; the remaining 2 units will appear at the end of this coming school year. We have selected the ordering of the rhymes, in general, by the frequency with which the rime unit appears in reading materials for young children. You are welcome to change the order to meet your own program needs.

If you do not have Adobe Acrobat 4.0, you must download it to open and use our PDF files.


Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30

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Week 1: Downloadables for September 25-29

Jack and Jill Nursery Rhyme Card
ILL Picture Card Set
ILL Riddle Rhymes
Jack and Jill Lesson Plans

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Week 2: Downloadables for October 2-6

Rain, Rain, Go Away Rhyme Card
AY Picture Card Set
AY Riddle Rhymes
Rain, Rain, Go Away Lesson Plans

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Week 3: Downloadables for October 9 -13

Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater Rhyme Card
ELL Picture Card Set
ELL Riddle Rhymes
Peter, Peter Pumpkin Eater Lesson Plans

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Week 4: Downloadables for October 16-20

Jack Sprat Rhyme Card
AT Picture Card Set
AT Riddle Rhymes
Jack Sprat Lesson Plans

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Week 5: Downloadables for October 30-November 3

I Saw A Ship A-Sailing Rhyme Card
ACK Picture Card Set
ACK Riddle Rhymes
I Saw A Ship A-Sailing Lesson Plans

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Week 6: Downloadables for November 6-10

Jack Be Nimble Rhyme Card
ICK Picture Card Set
ICK Riddle Rhymes
Jack Be Nimble Lesson Plans

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Week 7: Downloadables for November 13-17
Baby and I Rhyme Card
OT Picture Card Set
OT Riddle Rhymes
Baby and I Lesson Plans

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Week 8: Downloadables for November 20-24

Sing, Sing Rhyme Card
ING Picture Card Set
ING Riddle Rhymes
Sing, Sing Lesson Plans

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Week 9: Downloadables for November 27-December 1

Old Mother Twitchet Rhyme Card
AP Picture Card Set
AP Riddle Rhymes
Old Mother Twitchett Lesson Plans

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Week 10: Downloadables for December 4-8

Simple Simon Went A-Fishing Rhyme Card
AIL/ALE Picture Card Set
AIL/ALE Riddle Rhymes
Simple Simon Lesson Plans

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Week 11: Downloadables for December 11-14

Flour of England Rhyme Card
AIN/ANE Picture Card Set
AIN Riddle Rhymes
Flour of England Lesson Plans

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Week 12: Downloadables for January 8-12

Higglety Pigglety Pop Rhyme Card
OP Picture Card Set
OP Riddle Rhymes
Higglety, Pigglety, Pop Lesson Plans

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Week 13: Downloadables for January 15-19

Cross Patch Rhyme Card
IN Picture Card Set
In Riddle Rhymes
Cross Patch Lesson Plans

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Week 14: Downloadables for January 22-26

Ladybug, Ladybug Rhyme Card
AN Picture Card Set
AN Riddle Rhymes
Ladybug, Ladybug Lesson Plans

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Week 15: Downloadables for January 29-February 2

Gregory Griggs Rhyme Card
EST Picture Card Set
EST Riddle Rhymes
Gregory Griggs Lesson Plans

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Week 16: Downloadables for February 5-9

If All the World Rhyme Card
INK Picture Card Set
INK Riddle Rhymes
If All the World Lesson Plans

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Week 17: Downloadables for February 12-16

The Queen of Hearts Rhyme Card
ORE Picture Card Set
ORE Riddle Rhymes
The Queen of Hearts Lesson Plans

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Week 18: Downloadables for February 19-23

Hickory Dickory Dock Rhyme Card
OCK Picture Card Set
OCK Riddle Rhymes
Hickory Dickory Dock Lesson Plans

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Week 19: Downloadables for February 26-March 2

Hiccup, Hiccup Rhyme Card
AKE Picture Card Set
AKE Riddle Rhymes
Hiccup, Hiccup Lesson Plans

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Week 20: Downloadables for March 5-9

Elsie Marley Rhyme Card
INE Picture Card Set
INE Riddle Rhymes
Elsie Marley Lesson Plans

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Week 21: Downloadables for March 12-16

Star Light, Star Bright Rhyme Card
IGHT Picture Card Set
IGHT Riddle Rhymes
Star Light, Star Bright Lesson Plans

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Week 22: Downloadables for March 19-23

They That Wash Rhyme Card
AME Picture Card Set
AME Riddle Rhymes
They That Wash Lesson Plans

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Week 23: Downloadables for March 26-30

One, Two, Three, Four Rhyme Card
ATE Picture Card Set
ATE Riddle Rhymes
One, Two, Three, Four Lesson Plans

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Week 24: Downloadables for April 2-6

Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son Rhyme Card
EAT Picture Card Set
EAT Riddle Rhymes
Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son Lesson Plans

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Week 25: Downloadables for April 9-13

An Apple Pie Rhyme Card
ICE Picture Card Set
ICE Riddle Rhymes
An Apple Pie Lesson Plans

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Week 26: Downloadables for April 23-27
If Wishes ... Rhyme Card
IDE Picture Card Set
IDE Riddle Rhymes
If Wishes Lesson Plans

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Week 27: Downloadables for April 30-May 4

There Once Were 2 Cats Rhyme Card
IT Picture Card Set
IT Riddle Rhymes
Two Cats Lesson Plans

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Week 28: Downloadables for May 9-13

There Was an Owl Rhyme Card
OKE/OAK Picture Card Set
OKE/OAK Riddle Rhymes
There Was an Owl Lesson Plans

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Why Use Classic Nursery Rhymes?

When I've been asked why I decided to use the classic nursery rhymes as the basis for WIL's phonological awareness program, the first answer that always comes to my mind is simply that the rhymes are fun. Children for generations have enjoyed the silliness of the characters' antics. But there's much more to these rhymes than simply their good humor and their aboundingly enthusiastic rhythm. The rhymes are the canon of our youngest set.

Nursery rhymes introduce young listeners to story structure in its most basic form. There's an orientation -- Peter Pumpkin eater has a wife. There's a problem -- He's having trouble keeping her. And, there's a resolution -- He puts her in a pumpkin shell and there he keeps her very well.

Nursery rhymes also introduce children to a cast of characters who are likely to reappear throughout their school lives. You can't enjoy the Ahlberg's delightful Each Peach Pear Plum if you don't get the allusions to the nursery rhymes.

Nursery rhymes also greatly enrich young children's vocabularies and supply some early lessons in the ways our language works. Jack Sprat is lean; when we read this rhyme to children, we have to explain that word. And children add another word to their developing vocabularies. When a child asks, "What does it mean -- Molly my sister and I fell out?", you explain that "fell out" is an expression we don't use much anymore. It used to mean "had an argument". And children get a glimpse of how words and expressions work in English.

Then, too, nursery rhymes encourage thinking skills. Particularly entertaining are the riddle rhymes like Little Nancy Etticoat or Hick-A-More, Hack-A-More. Children like the challenge of a riddle. We've followed Mother Goose's lead, including riddle rhymes as part of our weekly instruction.

Finally, the nursery rhymes provide short, simple texts. While their uncontrolled vocabulary may occasionally make them tough to decode, their unrelenting rhythm makes them perfect for emerging readers who are developing their concepts of what a word is.

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WIL's Thirty Featured Rimes and Rhymes

Featured RIME
Featured Nursery Rhyme Title

"I saw a ship a-sailing"


"Simple Simon went a-fishing"


"Flour of England, fruit of Spain"


"Hiccup, hiccup, go away"


"They that wash"


"Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home"


"Old Mother Twitchett had but one eye"


"Jack Sprat could eat no fat"


"One, two, three, four"


"See-saw, Margery Daw"


"Rain, rain, go away"


"Tom, Tom, the piper's son"


"Peter, Peter, pumpkin eater"


"Gregory Griggs"


"An apple pie, when it looks nice"


"Jack be nimble"


"If wishes were horses"


"Star light, star bright"


"Jack and Jill went up the hill"


"Crosspatch, draw the latch"


"Elsie Marley is grown so fine"


"Sing, sing, what shall I sing?"


"If all the world were paper"


"There once were two cats of Kilkenny"


"Hickory Dickory Dock"


"There was an owl"


"Higglety, pigglety, pop!"


"The Queen of Hearts"


"Baby and I were baked in a pie"


"Young Roger came tapping at Dolly's window"

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Seventy-One Other Take Home Rhymes

Believing that reading at home is a critical component to children's eventual school success, we at WIL have designed the Home-School Library. Each of our 101 recommended books has a classic nursery rhyme card associated with it; these rhyme cards are placed by families and children in the My Very Own Nursery Rhyme Collection notebooks.
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By First Line
"A-hunting we will go"
"Alas! Alas! for Miss Mackay"
"Baa, Baa, black sheep"
"Barber, barber, shave a pig"
"Bat, bat, come under my hat"
"Betty Botter bought some butter"
"Bobby Shafto's gone to sea"
"Cackle, cackle, Mother Goose"
"Christmas is coming"
"Chuck, chuck, chuck, chuck"
"Cobbler, cobbler, mend my shoe"
"Come, butter, come"
"Curly Locks, Curly Locks wilt thou be mine?"
"Dickery, dickery, dare"
"Diddle, diddle, dumpling, my son John"
"Diddlety, diddlety, dumpty"
"A diller, a dollar"
"Dr. Foster went to Gloucester"
"Donkey, donkey, old and gray"
"Great A, Little A"
"Green cheese, yellow laces"
"Handy Spandy, Jack-a-Dandy"
"Here we go round the mulberry bush"
"Hey diddle, diddle"
"Hick-a-more, Hack-a-more"
"Hickey, pickety, my black hen"
"Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall"
"I asked my mother for fifteen cents"
"Little Bo-Peep"
"Little Boy Blue"
"Little Jack Horner sat in a corner"
"Little Miss Muffet"
"Little Nancy Etticoat"
"Little Tommy Tucker"
"Lucy Locket lost her pocket"
"Mary had a little lamb"
"Mary, Mary, quite contrary"
"Molly, my sister, and I fell out"
"Old King Cole"
"Old Mother Hubbard"
"Once I saw a little bird"
"One misty, moisty morning"
"One, two, buckle my shoe"
"Pat-a-cake, pat-a-cake"
"Pease porridge hot"
"Polly put the kettle on"
"Purple, yellow, red, and green"
"Pussy cat, pussy cat, where have you been?"
"Ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross"
"Ring around the rosey"
"Rock-a-bye baby"
"Simple Simon met a pieman"
"Sing a song of sixpence"
"The man in the moon"
"The lion and the unicorn"
"The north wind doth blow"
"The old woman must stand at the tub, tub, tub"
"There once were two cats of Kilkenny"
"The Queen of Hearts"
"There was a crooked man"
"There was an old woman lived under a hill"
"They that wash on Monday"
"This is the way the ladies ride"
"This little piggie went to market"
"Tickly, tickly, on your knee"
"To market, to market"
"Twinkle, twinkle, little star"
"Two little blackbirds"
"Up in the orchard"
"Wash the dishes, wipe the dishes"
"Wee Willie Winkie"

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