Before you twist children's tongues, grab their ears.

by Babs Hadjusiewicz May 25, 2009

It's Funday Monday, so let's play with alliterative rhymes today. You know, rhymes like "Peter Piper" who picked a peck of pickled peppers...or "Betty Botter" who bought a bit of bitter butter. Kids of all ages enjoy this kind of playful fun with language. Yes, even teens like to play these language games.child w/eager ears And your infant will delight in watching your mouth while hearing those interesting sounds you make. Before we begin to get all wacky with the repetition of sounds, let me allay any concerns that may have crept into your head. No, alliterative pieces (often called tongue twisters) are not hard for youngsters who are having difficulty speaking clearly. Here’s why: A tongue twister is only a tongue twister if you let it twist your tongue. Let's play with language a bit and you’ll see what I mean. All right. Let's grab your child's ears. Figuratively, that is. Go ahead. Invite your child to twist and giggle with you to say "Peter Piper" as fast and as far as you can muster.
Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked. If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers, Where’s the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked? ––by Anonymous
a tongue twisterDid it twist your tongues into knots? Okay, now slow down and say it again. This time tell it as a story. Hmmm. Didn't twist your tongue, did it? Not difficult for your child to say with you, is it...or to say as your echo, one line at-a-time. Now, it’s a story. And it still works to give practice to those ears and tongue. WOW! This is fun stuff that makes learning to read fun and meaningful. Here’s why: An alliterative poem works to immerse a child’s ears and tongue in a sound of language before the eyes are expected to read and the hands are expected to write the letter(s) that represents that sound. Try this other old familiar rhyme, "Betty Botter." (Note: Depending on the source, you will find word and line variations in these old rhymes.)
Betty Botter Betty Botter bought some butter,butter but she found the butter bitter. If she baked the bitter butter, it would make her batter bitter. But a bit of better butter oughta make her batter better. So she bought a bit of butter, better than her bitter butter, and she baked it in her batter, and her batter wasn't bitter. So 'twas better Betty Botter bought that bit of better butter. ––by Anonymous
chewy chunk of cheddar cheeseWOW! If it sounds like learning to read and write could be a whole lot easier when the ears and tongue get "worked out"'re right. We'll look at this learning strategy more on Wacky Wednesday. For now, enjoy making up some of your own alliterative phrases and sentences, such as: Wee Willie Winkie Wee Willie Winkie wandered wearily.wee willie winkie Peaceful paper people picked at purple pickled peas Chewing chunks of chewy cheddar cheese WOW! Tune in tomorrow for TALKing Tuesday's literacy tips!

Babs Hadjusiewicz
Babs Hadjusiewicz


Hey, thanks for stopping by. Check out our digital downloads right here in my store at You'll also find many of my publications in my Bee with Babsy B store on Teachers Pay Teachers' site. Come back often!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in The Babsy B Blog

Q&A: Do I really Need to be there for my kid's school event today?

by Alec Degnats February 08, 2018

Continue Reading →

Babsy B Tip: Conversation Starters

by Babs Bell Hadjusiewicz July 13, 2016

Continue Reading →

This Week's WOW! Word: TOLERATE

by Babs Bell Hadjusiewicz July 12, 2016

Continue Reading →