Playing with Rhyming Words

I’m taking a little hiatus from Tuesday’s Teaching Tip to continue my series on phonological/phonemic awareness.  Today, I want to share with you some ways we can teach and model phonological awareness, starting with rhyming.  (Some might argue that phonological awareness should start with the concept of spoken word, but I think that is better assessed with the written word, not as an auditory skill.)

I will be referring to Yopp & Yopp’s article Supporting Phonemic Awareness Development in the Classroom from The Reading Teacher quite a bit in these posts because it’s such a practical article, full of ideas that can easily be adapted for use at home with your child.

When teaching and modeling phonological awareness, it is good to start with the larger units of sound and move to the smaller.

A great place to start is PLAYING WITH RHYMING WORDS

Text Ideas:

  • songs (Raffi has some good ones, such as Down By the Bay or The Corner Grocery Store)  I will caution that you have to be careful with songs.  Many songs contain imperfect rhymes.  Take for instance This Old Man…give a dog a bone/this old man came rolling homeBone and home are close rhymes, but not exact.  It won’t hurt kids to sing these songs, just don’t use them as examples to teach about rhyming, yet.
  • poetry
  • Dr. Seuss
  • nursery rhymes- I have more to share about this one in particular towards the end of this series!
  • rhyming picture books (such as Goodnight Moon or Is Your Mama a Llama?)

What Does Playing with Rhymes Sound Like?

1. Model it for your child.

  • Just yesterday, we were watching PBS Kid’s Cat in the Hat.  ALuv and I started being silly saying, “Oh, it’s the rat in the hat.  No, it’s the bat in the hat.  Maybe it’s the mat in the hat.”  NJoy (at 2.5 years) was listening and taking it in.
  • While reading, point out rhyming pairs.  “Hey, those two words rhyme.  Car and star.  Do you hear that they rhyme?”
  • I used a song, sung to the tune of Mary Had a Little Lamb, when teaching rhyming words in the classroom.  You could use any set of rhyming words to sing, “Pot and dot are rhyming words, rhyming words, rhyming words, etc.”
  • Make up funny, little sentences with rhyming words and just be plain, old silly together.  Example: “We see a bee sitting in a tree.”
  • Make up rhymes with their names, such as “Ellie Belly” or “Silly Willy”.

2. Let your child try with support & feedback.

  • Point out rhyming words when reading.  After reading a rhyming pair, ask your child, “Did you hear two words that rhymed on that page?”  Be ready to model if the child’s answer is “no”.  What words were they?
  • Mama: “I’m going to say two words.  You tell me if they rhyme or not.”  Start with pairs that are very different from each other such as can/phone.  You can make it trickier by saying pairs that are similar in concept (chew/gum), that start with the same letter (can/cup), or that are multi-syllabic (candy/handy).
  • Mama: “Let’s play a game.  I’m going to say a word.  You tell me a word that rhymes.”
  • Read familiar texts and as you get to the rhyming part, let your child fill in the missing rhyming word.  “Goodnight bears, goodnight ________”.
  • I really like the book Silly Sally by Audrey Wood and here’s a great activity to go with it!

3. Eventually, your child will do this independent of help.

  • You’ll know your child has reached independence when she can identify and create rhyming words herself.  This may take her a week or months!  It all depends on the child.

Below are some FREE, yet phenomenal online resources for rhyming:

Pre-Kinders Rhyming

Florida’s Reading Research Centeractivities you can print out, including picture cards.  I like to use picture cards for a rhyming memory match game.

Bee Ready to Read’s rhyming activities (I found this site through Michelle @ Beginning Reading Help)

Take Time to Rhyme  & Rockin’ Rhyme Bingo from Amy @ Teach Mama


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