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5 Ways to Teach Rhyming

Preschooler hugging All About Reading Pre-reading readers

Did you know that rhyming is one of the best predictors of how easily a child will learn to read? That’s because good rhymers are better equipped to notice that rhyming words often have shared letter sequences, such as all in tall, ball, and small, which in turn gives them a considerable head start in learning to read.

Most children enjoy hearing and participating in rhyming activities, and when they are exposed to rhyming, they usually pick it up naturally.

But if your child isn’t good at rhyming yet, don’t worry! There are many things you can do to help. Read on!

Does Your Child Know How to Rhyme?

Use this simple test to find out whether your child knows how to rhyme. If your child needs help in this critical area, read on to discover how to teach your child to recognize and produce rhyme.

click to download a rhyming test

Three Stages of Rhyming Ability

It’s helpful to know that children don’t just start off rhyming. In fact, they generally go through three stages. In the order of easiest to hardest, those stages are:

the 3 stages of rhyming ability chart

Recognizing rhyme is a skill your child must master before he can produce rhyme, so you’ll first want to focus on helping your child recognize rhyme. Here are some activities that can help.

5 Simple Ways to Teach Rhyming

teach rhyming with rhyming picture books

Read rhyming picture books together.

There are hundreds of great rhyming books, and this Rhyming Picture Books Library List is a good place to start. As you read, occasionally point out words that rhyme. (“Oh, goat and boat rhyme! They sound the same at the end. Goat, boat.”)

Teach rhyming with Get Out of the Wagon rhyming game

Play “Get Out of the Wagon” with your child.

“Get Out of the Wagon” is a popular Stage 2 rhyming game. In this downloadable activity, three word cards—like rake, cake, and king—are placed in a wagon. The child determines which word doesn’t rhyme and tells it to “get out of the wagon.”

teach rhyming with nursery rhymes

Share nursery rhymes with your child.

Nursery rhymes are conducive to reciting again and again. After your child knows the nursery rhymes, let him fill in the rhyming words to work on Stage 2. On this downloadable library list, you’ll find some wonderful nursery rhyme collections to enjoy together.

teach rhyming with What's in My Bag? rhyming game

Play “What’s in My Bag?” with your child.

Once your child can successfully recognize rhymes, this activity will help him learn to produce rhymes (a Stage 3 skill). Just fill a bag with several common household items (here are some ideas) and you’re ready to play “What’s in My Bag?”

teach rhyming with Dinner Time rhyming game

Play “Dinner Time” with the whole family.

For more advanced Stage 3 rhyming, download this fun “Dinner Time” game. But make sure to play “Dinner Time” with the whole family. It’s guaranteed to provide lots of giggles for kids and parents alike!


Teaching Rhyming to Preschoolers - All About Reading

The Bottom Line on Teaching Rhyming to Your Child

It may not happen overnight, but with repeated exposure, your child will learn to rhyme. Most importantly, keep your rhyming practice fun and light—it shouldn’t feel like a “lesson” to a young child.

Is there a rhyming activity that your child enjoys? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.

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Photo credit: Rachel Neumann

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Teye Deborah Yormely

says:

Thank you for posting th wagon game

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Teye! I hope your student or students have a lot of fun with it.

Mandy Chu

says:

Mail me so I can learn and teach pupils, thanks.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Mandy,
I have signed you up for our email newsletter and you will receive weekly tips and articles. If you need anything else, please let me know.

Victoria

says:

Thank you so much for posting this.
It was a great introduction activity for my kindergarten class.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Victoria! I hope your class has a lot of fun with it.

Nicole

says:

Mail me please . My child enjoy but needs extra help email me cards if possible, I tried downloading it wouldn’t work

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry you are having trouble downloading these activities, Nicole. What device and browser are you using?

Maybe you will be able to download these:
Get Out of the Wagon
What’s in My Bag?
Dinner Time

Let me know if these work or not or if you need others.

Donna Morgan

says:

Super cute ideas! Ready to use them in my therapy sessions!
Thank you!

Nicole

says:

How did you get them , I tried to download wasn’t able

Donna Morgan

says:

Nicole, in the article above I clicked on the places where it said download, in blue highlights. I think I used my laptop, but I just practiced on my iPhone and they downloaded. If you’re using an android phone, maybe that’s preventing it? Not sure. But I’m the least tech savvy person I know and I got them , so keep trying!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Glad you like them, Donna, and I hope they work well for you! You’re welcome.

JOLAOSHO OLUWATO TAIWO

says:

This Is Impressive And Educative Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Jolaosho.

PS2

says:

I’m excited to try Get Out of the Wagon with my preschool class next week. They vary from an already-reading 3yo to barely-knows-what-letters-are 5yo (it’s an eclectic bunch!) and rhyme is one of the things my classroom came with NO resources for teaching. They’re such a hands-on bunch, I knew I needed solid visuals.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I hope your class has a lot of fun with this activity!

archana

says:

Lovely Ideas

Virgin Juliana B

says:

Im doing Nursery Rhymes exploration with kids in my online program today and stumbled to to this blog while feeding my reading cup :)
Thank you so much, will surely use the activity for our fun learning. They are awesome. Terima kasih from Jakarta, Indonesia!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome! I’m glad you’ll found this helpful.

Jessica Flaharty

says:

These activities are great!! Thanks so much for sharing!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jessica!

Dom

says:

hello! im trying to print the “get out of the wagon” activity. it’s only printing the first page. i’ve tried many different printer settings both on my laptop and the copier itself. if there’s any way you can help i’d greatly appreciate it! thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m so sorry you are having such trouble printing the activities, Dom. Are you still not able to print? What type of computer are you using? Can you print things from other websites?

Esther

says:

Thank you! I love your clear instructions and games!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Esther!

Jenn

says:

Thank you!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Jenn!

Jenn

says:

Thanks so much for all this! My almost 5 year old son, who is in speech therapy, was just diagnosed with Expressive Language Disorder and is having difficulty understanding rhymes. Any specific advice for us/him?

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Jenn,
Rhyming is difficult for some children. The best thing you can do is to pay attention to where he is in the stages of rhyming outlined in this blog post. Spend LOTS of time each day exposing your son to rhyming books, rhyming songs, playing with rhymes, and so on. Reread and resing the same books and songs often, so he can start to predict what comes next. Once you feel he knows a book or song well, try pausing just before a rhyming word is given and see if he can provide it. Encourage him to learn nursery rhymes and silly poems and say them with you. Make up rhymes with the names of family members and pets and use them.

Note, rhymes do not have to be real words! Feel free to use nonsense words to rhyme with, and if he tries to rhyme with nonsense words praise him up and down for it! (But don’t ask him to produce rhymes himself at this stage, just if he does it spontaneously.)

Stay in stage one as long as he needs to be very comfortable with hearing and repeating rhyming.

S.pranadhi

says:

Super ?

Laura

says:

Great resources! Thank you :)

Barbara Rogers

says:

Your poems sounds to be terrific. Please send

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Barbara,
Here is the link for a printable library list of rhyming picture books.

Eden Chang

says:

Hello Robin, I couldn’t seem to download all of the links attached on your article.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

I’m sorry about the difficulties you are having, Eden! What device and browser are you using? Maybe if you try another browser, that will fix the issue. If not, please let me know so we can try to get this sorted for you.

Viktoria

says:

Great activities!

Getrude

says:

Thank you very much for this information. I would love to learn more on how to teach rhymes

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Getrude.

Do you have any specific questions about teaching rhyme that isn’t covered in this blog post? Often children that struggle with rhyming need a lot more time in stage 1, being exposed to rhyme through books, poetry, songs, and such.

Sonia Srivastava

says:

Thank you. I had created a rhyming room and children identified the rhyming words.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

What an interesting idea, Sonia! I’d love to hear a description of your rhyming room.

Smita jain

says:

Very impressive

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Smita.

Fane

says:

Thank you ,Smita
??

Florence Britton

says:

Wonderful source of resources to teach preschoolers about rhyming. I was happy to have these examples to use on my practice teaching. It helped me to prepare instruction to engaged the students. Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Thank you, Florence! I’m glad this is helpful for your teaching.

Lisa

says:

Thank you for these wonderful resources! I appreciate how simple and effective they are. I look forward to adding these into our nursery rhyme unit at preschool.

alifiya

says:

superb ideas, thanks for sharing these types of games

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Alifiya!

Elizabeth

says:

So much fun!

sheree ann ferrer gallardo

says:

it is nice to be here!

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

It’s great to have you hear, Sheree!

Ofelia

says:

Excellent recommendations!! We are going through the pre reading program and didn’t realize how important rhyming is. We are enjoying these so much. Thanks so much

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You are so welcome, Ofelia! I’m very pleased to hear you are enjoying these. ?

Rajeswari

says:

Great ideas.
Will try to use them in my distance learning classes this year.
Thanks

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

You’re welcome, Rajeswari! I hope your students have a lot of fun with these. ?

Beth Anne Witmer

says:

This is a great post with lots of good ideas! My 4.5 year old son likes to try to rhyme words but he doesn’t quite have it down yet. He thinks rhyming is making a word with the same beginning sound. So we’ll be working through some of these this year.

Robin E.

says: Customer Service

Beth,
Rhyming can be tricky for a lot of little ones, but they can learn it with help. I’m glad you have found this post helpful.