Did you know that one of the predictors of how well a kindergartner will learn to read is if he is able to rhyme? All those nonsensical verses from your childhood really do matter. The ability to recognize and produce rhyming words is an important phonological awareness skill and research indicates there is a correlation between phonological awareness and reading ability. Rhyming is a precursor to learning how to read and write. Phonemic awareness (awareness of how to listen to, identify, and change around the sounds in spoken language) lays the groundwork for written language. Because rhyming words – words that have sounds in common - often share spelling sequences in their written form, children sensitive to rhymes are well equipped to develop their reading. By making children aware that words share segments of sounds (e.g. the -ight segment shared by light, fight, and might), rhymes help prepare them to learn that such words often have spelling sequences in common too.
Engaging children with rhymes and rhyming songs, while an important precursor to reading and writing, is also fun. In addition to the timeworn Mother Goose, there are many great and humorous children’s poetry books by authors like Shel Silverstein and Jack Prelutsky. And don’t forget Dr. Seuss! So have fun reading, rhyming and singing with your children while teaching them reading readiness skills and exercising those awesome sponge-like brains!
We have been learning to rhyme in class and a large number of Team Awesome members are struggling with the concept. You could help us by playing some of these games to practice at home.
- Read stories that have rhyming words and draw your child’s attention to the words that rhyme.
- Play 'Which One Does Not Belong?' Give three consonant-vowel-consonant (CVC) words, e.g., but, mat, cat. “Two of these words rhyme, one does not rhyme. Can you tell me which one does not rhyme with the others?”
- Recite rhymes in a whisper and say the rhyming word aloud or recite the rhyme in a loud voice and whisper the rhyming word.
- Recite the rhyme, stopping and waiting for the child to fill in the second rhyming word in a rhyming word pair.
- Have children clap on rhyming word pairs when given both rhyming and non-rhyming.
- Children can draw pictures of objects that rhyme or cut out rhyming pictures found in magazines.
- Provide the rhyming word “Say a word that sounds like_______.” The child is to produce a rhyming word. A nonsense word is acceptable as long as it rhymes.