The Grand Old Duke of York
The grand old Duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them all to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again
And when they were up they were up!
And when they were down they were down!
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down!
This rhyme has been a personal long time favorite. Young children love to move around, and what better way to get them moving in a controlled way than with a march. The rhyme can be repeated and practiced over and over all around the room.
One of the reasons this is a valuable rhyme for pre-readers is that it teaches the directions UP and DOWN in a meaningful way. We physically rise our hands or bodies as we act out the actions in the rhyme. I like to flip-flop my hands in an "I can't make up my mind" manner when the men are neither up nor down.
Print awareness is a child's understanding of how printed words work. A big part of this pre-reading skill relates to a child's understanding that we read in a specific direction. In English, we read from left to right, top to bottom. Rhymes that help children master an understanding of directions contribute to their later reading success! Pretty cool!!