Three R’s before Reading: Rhythm, Rhyme and Repetition, fire neurons in the brain. As neurons fire, they make connections. The more stimulating the environment, the more connections made between neurons. If neurons do not connect, they eventually dissipate.
Neurons “fire” like a spark plug when stimulation is strong enough. The firing takes place in the space between neurons (synapse). Firing increases the network of dendrites that form fingerlike extensions between neurons. When this occurs, neurons are connected and learning becomes easier. With sufficient stimulation found in “multi-sensory” activities, connections become permanent and complex. Listening to soft music or watching TV or DVD, provides some stimulation, but it is not “multi-sensory”.
Examples of “multi-sensory” stimulation are: singing, clapping, chanting, dancing to the “toe tapping” music and repeating patterned verses in a rhyming book. The Three R’s before Reading: Rhythm, Rhyme and Repetition provide “multi-sensory” stimulation.
Rhythm is found in music and movement. Rhythm is experienced when we listen to musical sounds, decipher what is heard and move to the beat. Children will literally get up on their feet and start dancing when they hear “foot tapping” music. Children will want to participate when they hear rhythm. Participation can include everything that makes up a “multi-sensory” experience for the child.
Rhyme: Rhyming verses provide patterns. Patterns are found in poetry, rhyming books and in musical songs. Children love the sound of patterns. They can feel what they hear all through their bodies. These sensations fire neurons in the brain. Patterns stimulate the right side of the brain. The right side of the brain is responsible for math and spatial relationships, as well as language.
Repetition: Children love to repeat stimulating experiences over and over again. When children ask to do an activity again, they are really saying, “I want to feel those sensations again.” Children feel sensations when the activity is “multi-sensory”. If a child is given an opportunity to participate in a “multi-sensory” book, the child will want to read that particular book over and over again.
Children are born with a genetic pool of neurons, ready to be connected. Multi-Sensory stimulation connects neurons. Those connections become complex networks. It is the complex networks between neurons that make learning easier for children. Adults interpret this as “gifted children” or a “smarter students”.