Arabic Nursery Rhymes: How Songs and Books Can Work Together

Singing enhances children’s language development: it helps them memorize, builds vocabulary, and helps them delight in language. Eventually, these build into life-long reading skills. (If you need convincing, follow this link and read about brain research, kids, and music.)

Books-from-songs can also help: My two-year-old can’t get enough of The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round. (Really. I usually try to hide it around the house so I can have a break from reading it. Or else I make the six-year-old do it.)

And, while I might find The Wheels on the Bus annoying, the two-year-old has memorized much of the book. At some point, when he’s interested in words, it might be one of the first texts he can “read.”

It would be wonderful to have more Arabic books that also worked as chants or songs, like the charming and easy-to-remember بابا جي أمتي . (I didn’t even realize I knew this song, but I looked at the title and started to sing it. Strange how these things can work their way inside your brain!)

Yes, I realize that بابا جي أمتي is hardly fos’ha, but I think it still might be worked into some sort of book format.

In looking, I found a few (fos’ha) Arabic children’s CDs available from Syraj; I think I’ll buy one this summer and test it out.

There’s also this new website, from Al Salwa Publishing, all about Arabic nursery rhymes. You can listen to a few for free and see what they’re about. I’m going to try to get my hands on that CD, too.

If you know where to get your hands on a good singable-rhyme-plus-book series in Arabic, please let me know!

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