Poems, Songs & Story Times

Toddlers and Books
PSST: Poems, songs & story times is a CD of rhymes and songs for young children. Created by the Young Readers Program, it encourages listening to rhymes and stories as an important early step in reading and language development.

The Young Readers Program is a partnership between the State Library of Victoria, the Victorian Department of Education and Early Childhood Development and the Municipal Association of Victoria.

If you have had a baby in Victoria in the last 3 years you will most likely have received a ‘rhyme time’ booklet and DVD at your four-month visit to the maternal and child health centre. Every child also receives an Australian picture book at their two-year-old maternal and child health visit (our toddler received Itsy-Bitsy Babies by Margaret Wild and Jan Ormerod, at the start of this year).

What is on the Poems, Songs & Story Times CD?

The CD features ARIA award-winning singers and songwriters Kate Rowe and Rebecca Barnard in conjunction with leading Australian authors including Alison Lester, Jeannette Rowe and Rosemary Milne, to name a few.

I enjoyed that English is not the only language featured on the CD. There are songs and rhymes from a wide range of cultures including Mandarin, Vietnamese, Spanish and Persian. There is also a beautiful alphabet song by Koori singer and storyteller, Kutcha Edwards, which is one of my faves.

You can see the entire CD listing (94 tracks) on the State Library website.

Why listen to the Poems, Songs & Story Times CD?

As a mum of five, I put the CD on and thought I would listen to a few tracks with the kids and then switch off as it blended into the background of my day. That did not happen though as this CD is different to traditional song and story time CDs. Throughout the tracks there are fantastic short tips on how you can incorporate the three R’s: rhyme, rhythm and repetition into your every day activities and how to build their language development through books, like:

  • Let your child change the pages – even babies can turn the page of a board book and a three year old can do it all by themselves.
  • Making a rhythm helps baby understand the rhythmic pattern and structure of words.
  • Asking questions about the story helps children predict what is next. It helps them think about the problem of the story and come up with a solution.
  • Talking about a cover page can lead the child into the story and get them ready for reading.
  • Incorporate what you see around in daily life. A visit to the zoo, in the bush, at the farm. Repeat the names of the animals and sounds and get them to repeat them back to you.
  • Show your child that the print is actually the words on the page you are speaking. They will enjoy making the connection.

I love this philosophy to kids literacy – at its core it is about getting kids to love reading, making it fun and part of their everyday life! Some of this stuff I was doing, others I definitely needed to be reminded of its importance and make sure I am including it in my day.

The Poems, Songs & Story Times is available to borrow from public libraries around Victoria and even if like me, you think you have a pretty good handle on songs and stories for little ones, I reckon there will still be something in it for you. If you are a newer parent, add your name to the reservations wait list at your local library – it is a practical introduction on how you can help your kids on the reading journey.

Planning with Kids was sent a copy of Poems, Songs & Story Times CD by the State Library of Victoria.