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!
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.
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:
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.
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.”)
“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.”
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.
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?”
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!
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.
Photo credit: Rachel Neumann