Children love to rhyme. From catchy tunes to silly poems, the rhythm and sing-songy tones that naturally come out when rhyming are fun and do wonders for engaging their little minds. But did you know that rhyming is also an important part of learning how to read?
Rhyming Practices Phonological Awareness
Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate the sounds that make up words. When you can hear the b-sound, a-sound, and t-sound that make up the word “bat,” you are using your phonological awareness. Children who struggle with phonological awareness often struggle with reading because they’re not able to connect the sounds they hear to the letters or letter combinations of our language.
Rhyming requires listening closely to words and playing with those sounds. Without even realizing it, children are training their ears to pick up on sounds and reproduce them when they engage in rhyme activities.
Rhyming Helps Children to Discover Word Patterns
When adults read, they’re not reading every letter individually and then blending them together to produce a word. That would be too tedious and time-consuming! Instead, they’re reading chunks of letters together and recognizing patterns. This ability to detect word patterns is vital to fluency. Rhyming is the best way to begin recognizing and memorizing such patterns.
Take, for instance, the letter grouping “-ight”. Once the child becomes familiar with how that grouping of letters sound, all they need to do is replace the beginning sounds to create different words: tight, might, sight, light, fight, etc. When they come upon the word pattern in reading, there’s no need to sound it out or to try and remember spelling rules. They’re simply familiar with it and can move on!
Easy Ways to Practice Rhyming
Fortunately, promoting this foundational literacy skill is a breeze with some simple, regular activities:
- Sing Songs — Who doesn’t love music? Your child will have so much fun singing their favorite tunes that they’ll have no idea they’re practicing literacy skills! Let Storypod help with Crafties that sing well-loved family favorites, such as Jack & Jill and Do Your Ears Hang Low.
- Read High-Quality Rhyming Books — Reading rhyming books encourages playing with words. Not only will they be able to hear the sounds as you read, but they will begin to see them, as well. Storypod’s Rambee Boo series is perfect for beginning readers as it features simple, but engaging, stories written in rhyming couplets!
- Practice Nursery Rhymes — Recite classic nursery rhymes before bed, in the car, or while taking a walk. Just a few favorites will do. You guys can recite them together or you can recite them and pause when you get to the rhyming words to see if your child can fill in the blank. They’ll be so proud when they do!
- Play Rhyming Games — There’s no need to vex yourself on creating or buying complex educational games. “I-Spy” rhyming or creating index cards with rhyming words and having them find matching pairs is enough to be engaging and academically supportive.