Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

ECMMA: Early Childhood Music and Movement Association

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Movement Matters

After many years of making music with children, Eve Kodiak, M.M., became interested in the brain/body processes that underlie the learning process. As an Educational Kinesiologist, she now works with people of all ages, using music and developmental movement to create positive change. Eve can be found in her office at The Lydian Center for Innovative Medicine in Cambridge, MA, or at home in New Hampshire, writing and recording. Her CD/book sets include Rappin' on the Reflexes and Feelin' Free, which combine developmental movements with songs, raps, and narrations with music. Eve also performs and records as an improvising classical pianist. More information and articles on music and developmental movement may be found at www.evekodiak.com.


The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily promote official policy of ECMMA.

One, Two, Buckle My Sneaker: Music and Literacy 5

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Nursery Rhymes. It’s not a foregone conclusion today that most young children know nursery rhymes. Lots of them don’t. Even lots of their parents don’t. We’re losing one of the biggest tools we have – an unconsciously patterned treasure trove of rhythm and rhyme. Let’s bring it back!

One, two, buckle my shoe

Three, four, shut the door

Five, six, pick up sticks

Seven, eight, lay them straight

Nine, ten, a big fat hen!

Counting Rhymes. Counting rhymes are a great place to start the retrieval of traditional children’s repertoire. Counting is one of the first things children learn to do with words, and numbers are some of the first words children learn. I remember reading that, however fluent people become in a second or third language, when they are counting to themselves, they usually revert to their mother tongue. Ichi, ni, san, chi; uno, dos, tres . . .

Body Percussion. One, two, buckle my shoe is a great rhyming tool, because the rhythm really punches in the rhyme! Slap, clap  is a perfect way to get that rhyme and rhythm into the body:

Slap, Clap, Slap,          Clap

One, TWO, Buckle my SHOE

and the body percussion reinforces the rhyme.

Leaving out the Rhyme.  Once One, Two, Buckle my Shoe has become a comfortable, predictable experience, play the game of leaving out the rhyme.

Teacher: One, two, buckle my . . . . . .

Children:  SHOE!!!

This is an audiation activity – they children hear the correct word in their minds’ ears, and shout it out! This ability to internalize the sounds of words and to express them in a rhythmic way is key to fluent reading.

Goofing up the Rhyme. The next step is a lot of fun.

Teacher: One, two, buckle my sneaker –

Children: SHOE!! SHOE!!

Teacher: Oh! You mean, One, two, buckle my belt –

Children: SHOE!!!! SHOE!!!

Teacher: I get it! One, two, buckle my backpack

Children: SHOE!!!!!!!!

Teacher: Oh, I didn’t understand before. One, TWO, buckle my SHOE. Three, four, close the refrigerator . . .

And so on.

Laughter is important. This is FUN. It’s OK to dissolve into giggles now and then. We retain, learn and remember funny things.

Filling in the  New Rhyme.You can also change the second number to a nonsense word, and the children find the rhyming word.

Teacher: One, beaker, buckle my ________

Children: Sneaker!

The children may not come up with “sneaker.” They may come up with nonsense words. It doesn’t matter; the point is hearing the rhyme and jumping in on time.

Rhythm Rules. When you keep the “Slap, Clap” going throughout some of these games, you reinforce the meter. It is actually more important to come in at the right time than to come in with the right word or rhyme. Rhythm creates a template in the body/mind system and eventually, the correct word will find its way into the template. When we learn this way, we learn with flow. We learn not to stop and start and stutter. This is how fluency is built.

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