Recite words to poems or songs to break down words into syllables.

What You Need:

• Paper
• Old magazines
• Blunt, child-sized scissors
• White glue (such as Elmer’s Glue®**) or glue stick

What To Do:

1. Recite the words to poems or songs with your child. Two examples are provided below. Clap once for each syllable of each word as you recite the poem or song.
2. With poems such as “Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear” that describe movements or actions, show your child how to act out the words as you recite them together.
3. Ask your child to tell you words of things she likes. Clap for each syllable as you say the words together. For example, dog has one syllable (clap once); “dad-dy” has two syllables (clap twice); “bi-cy-cle” has three syllables (clap three times).
4. Using old magazines, help your child cut out pictures of objects whose names have one, two, or three syllables. Show her how to use the scissors, if she needs help. On a sheet of paper, make three columns, labeled 1, 2, and 3. Paste the one-syllable words in column 1, the two syllable words in column 2, and the three-syllable words in column 3. Have your child name an object from the picture list and clap as you say each syllable together. Ask her how many syllables (claps) are in each word.

Teddy Bear, Teddy Bear
Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, turn-a-round;
Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, touch-the-ground.
Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, show-your-shoe;
Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, that-will-do.

Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, go-up-stairs;
Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, say-your-prayers.
Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, turn-out-the-light;
Ted-dy-bear, ted-dy-bear, say-good-night.

Verse 1.
Why does such a little fish have such a great big name?
Just learning how to say it is driving me insane!
But it’s not hard to learn to do it while we sing and play.
This great big name is easy if you follow what I say.

Just say Humu (humu) nuku (nuku) ?pua‘a (?pua‘a)
Just say Humu (humu) nuku (nuku) ?pua‘a (?pua‘a).

Verse 2.
Just like a baby has to learn to crawl before it walks,
You have to take a little at a time.
If you can say a syllable, then you can say a word,
Then you put the words all in a line.


Verse 3.
Now we know the name of this famous little fish.
Now we can sing it everywhere we go.
And if somebody wonders what we’re saying all the while,
We’ll say, “It’s O-FISH-AL” and smile.

And we say Humuhumunukunuku?pua‘a

By Leon Siu, Pohaku Music ©1979.
Lyrics from Keiki Calabash Hawai‘i Kids’ Songs CD, Leon and Malia Productions © 1993
Used by permission. All rights reserved.