Insha’Allah, a new literacy activity book is coming soon: Muslim Reading Rhymes. It includes reading, writing, and colouring activities for Muslim children to enjoy as they develop early literacy skills alongside an adult.

The rhymes are about love for Islam, and about reading and writing. Through the words, some poems portray fictional Muslim characters who practise Islam, read, and write. However, the illustrations only depict books, bookish things, and nature, making the book easy to take along to the masjid.

‘Read’

{Read, and your Lord is the most Generous—
Who taught by the pen—
Taught man that which he knew not.}
Al-Qur’an, 96:3–5

 

{Indeed, within the heavens and earth are signs for the believers.}
Al-Qur’an, 45:3

 

Literacy as a Muslim

With these rhymes, Muslim children can have fun developing their spirituality and literacy simultaneously.

 

The rhymes have Islamic subjects, child-centred content about reading and writing, and Muslim characters. Because this content is deeply relevant to Muslim children, there is ease for them in comprehending the meanings in the text. So even when a Muslim child is challenged by seeing and hearing word sounds, writing letters, forming sentences, searching for spellings, and other literacy tasks, they can find ease in the reading and writing processes supported by the Islamic content of this book.

 

Alhamdulillah, there is even a rhyme called ‘You’re Important’ to emphasise a child’s value as a reader, writer, and important learner. Masha’Allah, as a result of engaging with this rhyme, I have witnessed a child turn around their attitude towards literacy from long-held resistance to proactive learning.

 

An Excerpt from ‘You’re Important’

Learn to spell words,
learn to spell words,
write your stories,
write your stories.
Fun! Fun! Fun! Fun!
You’re important,
you’re important …
keep on reading,
keep on writing,
and remember—
never ending—
you’re important.

 

Literacy Can Be Interactive, Dialogic, and Fun

By engaging with plenty of phonetic and non-phonetic word endings through rhymes, children can approach spelling in a fun and memorable way. Also, a lot of the content provokes discussion and interaction. Children are invited to give some of the poems new and better endings.

 

For example, in one song in the book a boy’s parents and uncle completely misunderstand something because they don’t ask him any questions. After reading / singing the poem, children are invited to rewrite the last verse or two keeping the rhythm and rhyme. The focus is on problem-solving, and the experience is fun, while children rehearse Islamic manners and practise literacy skills.

 

To provoke discussion, the poem below illustrates how to visit the sick with BAD manners. It thereby invites discussion about how to—in contrast—make a visit with good manners according to Islamic etiquette. It is based on the traditional rhyme ‘Ding Dong Bell’.

 

‘Please Don’t Yell’

Please don’t yell;
I’m not feeling well.
And please don’t beep;
I really need to sleep.
And please be still;
Your bouncing makes me ill.
How am I supposed to rest
When I’m trampled by a guest?
Yes I’m still feeling quite low,
But I think I’ll feel better when you go!

 

Word Families and Dolch Words

The rhyming schemes in the poems use various word families, and the word families are noted with each rhyme. Also, words are rhymed by sound, without sharing a family. For example, in the rhyme above, ‘yell’ and ‘bell’ end with the same sound and spelling: they are in the ‘-ell’ family. However, ‘low’ and ‘go’ have rhyming sounds that are spelled differently.

 

The poems also include pre-primer, primer, and grade one Dolch words—high frequency words that are useful to be familiar with, and learn to recognise by sight, during early stages of literacy development. And these are also noted alongside each rhyme.

 

In addition to plenty of simple words and repetition, the rhymes provide a wealth of rich vocabulary for children to use new words.

 

Interactive Activities

There are also word searches in Muslim Reading Rhymes to interactively support children to recognise word spellings independently.

 

In addition, there are colouring and dot-to-dot activities for children to enjoy while they develop hand control for writing, and at the back there are also illustrations to cut out and to stick into relevant places among the pages.*

 

The poems are all based upon traditional nursery rhymes and songs. So many of them can be sung, which lots of children enjoy, and a few are to be spoken.

 

Collaboration

The Islamic content can bring a Muslim child ease. Also, collaboration brings ease. And this collection of Muslim Reading Rhymes is designed to be used by a Muslim child together with an adult—book in hand and without. And there are ideas at the back of the book for having fun with the rhymes during the day—away from the book itself, to informally foster development of early literacy skills.

 

Alhamdulillah, in producing Muslim Reading Rhymes Elizabeth Lymer (author) and Aziem Chawdhary (illustrator) have collaborated with a team of supportive people who are mentioned with thanks in the book insha’Allah.

 

Insha’Allah Muslim Reading Rhymes will be released for Ramadan!

Do you know a beginner Muslim reader and writer who needs an adult to collaborate with them in developing their skills?

 

Insha’Allah to be first to know when Muslim Reading Rhymes is available, and to access exclusive freebies, please subscribe to emails from Elizabeth Lymer.

 

Muslim Reading Rhymes is written by Elizabeth Lymer, author of Islamic Nursery Rhymes, Muslim Lullabies, and Angels and Rainbows.

*As with crayons, pencils, etc., customers can acquire glue and scissors as desired, and separately to purchasing Muslim Reading Rhymes.

 

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