More Butterfly Writing

As we’re wrapping up our study on butterflies, I wanted to post a couple of ways we integrated writing into our unit.  I have been SO proud of his attitude while writing lately.

1.  Butterfly Life Cycle

I read Becoming Butterflies by Anne Rockwell.  This book tells about the life cycle of Monarch butterflies and we compared it to what had happened with our painted lady butterflies.

He worked the butterfly life cycle puzzle from Lakeshore.  This served as a quick review.  I believe it is discontinued now, but I found the set at yard sale recently for $2.

I folded over pieces of paper and created a flip chart to show how a caterpillar turns into a butterfly.  He used pictures and words from the book to help him draw and write the words.  Something I noticed is that chrysalid and chrysalis seem to be interchangeable.  Maybe I’m wrong…and if I am, please correct me!

On the top page, he wrote Becoming Butterflies.

Here are a couple of his inside pages:

egg- 1st page

butterfly- last page

This flip chart concept could be adapted and used with many different content areas.

Just a few that pop in my mind right away are:

  • retelling a story in order
  • helping a child understand where they live: city, state, country, continent would go on the pages and the child would draw pictures of those things on the inside flaps
  • writing math problems: for example, 4+5 could be written and when it’s  flipped open, the child writes the answer and maybe draws pictures or writes words to show how she got the answer

2. What Did You Learn?

I read It’s a Butterfly’s Life by Irene Kelly.  This is VERY interesting book.  For example, did you know that a caterpillar’s poop is called frass?  Some caterpillars can even “shoot” their frass up to 3 feet (we pulled out a yard stick to see just how far that was)!  There were parts of the book that were WAY over his head, so I paraphrased or skipped those.

Before reading, I told ALuv that this book contained very interesting and even gross facts about butterflies.  This really engaged him, as he wanted to get to the gross parts.

During reading, I kept commenting, “Wow!  I didn’t know that before!” or “That’s so cool!”  He made comments as well.

After reading, I asked him what facts he remembered the most.  We engaged in dialogue about this, as I shared mine.  Once he established his favorite, I asked him to draw a picture showing it.  I walked away as he worked, so as not to “hover” (as my husband calls it).

This is what he drew:

A green caterpillar with large eye spots.

Once he had his picture drawn, I asked him to tell me about it.  I helped him narrow down the sentence he wanted to write and I set him free to write it.  I listened.  No whining…no crying…not an utterance of  “But I can’t!”.  After a couple minutes of silence, I was intrigued.  I simply walked by to see what was happening.  He had already written two words: The caterpillar.  He had used the flip chart I mentioned above to spell caterpillar!  I was so proud!!

He used the Word Wall to spell several other sight words.  A few times, he did ask for help.  When he did, I modeled how to stretch out the words.  He said the words, too and wrote down the sounds he heard.  Stretching out words and writing down the phonemes is a great way to further develop a child’s phonemic awareness; a necessary skill for reading!

This is the final work:

The Caterpillar can scar othr animls uwa with thr big is.

(The caterpillar can scare other animals away with their big eyes.)

This reading mama’s favorite was UWA for away…brilliant!  Okay, so I am aware that he has a capital C at the beginning of caterpillar and that this “fact” isn’t entirely true…they’re really eye spots, but who cares?!?!  I could not stop praising him for his good attitude and hard work.  His handwriting looks amazing!  Just about a month ago, he didn’t even understand how to use the lines.  Now, he can use them independently!  Yay!

What do I think made such a big difference in a month’s time?  I believe it all boils down to best teaching practices that work in any content area:

  1. Modeling: If you remember, when he wrote in his journal about our butterflies, I modeled “correct” letter formation on a lined dry erase board; which I found at Target in their $1 bin last year.  He has also repeated the sentence strip handwriting activity; which gives him a good model with letter formation.
  2. Multiple Exposures:  I bumped up my expectations with him.  We write almost every day now.
  3. Meaningful Practice: Not worksheet after worksheet, but fun and authentic reasons for writing.

And…an old trick I had forgotten until recently:  Let him draw his picture first.   Drawing tends to be easier (and more fun) for kids at a young age and a less daunting place for them to start.  Encourage them to fill their pictures with lots of details.  When they’re done, ask them to describe their picture to you so they can verbalize their thoughts.  They may even allow you to label their picture.  Then, help them to figure out what they want to write down based off their picture.


"Doing School" with NJoy

NJoy is currently 2 years, 8 months.  And this little boy NJOYS learning.  He is actually borderline obsessive! 🙂  He has walked into our new schoolroom several times since its construction and demanded, “I want to ‘do school’!” (It really sounds more like “do cool”; since he can’t say his s blends very well).

Magnetic letter play

“Mommy, I need the pointer so I can point to letters.” – I hear this at least twice a day.

Sneaking in a quick ABC puzzle with Mr. Lamb before breakfast

Now that he’s taken to it, I’ve realized that I need to be more intentional with him.  While I sometimes still adapt things for him that I do with ALuv, I’ve begun separate lesson plans for him.  The awesome thing is that I’ve got PLENTY of amazing online resources to help me out.  You can visit the other sites and their amazing resources by clicking on the links with each activity.

Letters & Their Letter Sounds

Instead of going through the alphabet in order, I introduce letters and their sounds in more of a developmental order (I am planning to post more specifically about this soon).   Sometimes, I’ll start with the letter of the child’s name, but since we are studying butterflies, I decided to go with B.

Letter B Work:

Play dough Letter B Mat from here

Our letter Bb sound tub

For each object, I placed it on this Bb mat, saying the object’s name like this: /b/-/b/-bread.  For more ideas on using sound tubs, click here and here.

Drawing strings on the balloons- (I’m beginning to wonder if he’ll be a lefty like his daddy)

If splashing in mud puddles is NJoy’s 1st love, drawing strings on balloons has got to be a close 2nd.   So much so, that I have to be careful not to leave writing utensils within his reach because if he sees an o anywhere in the house, he writes a line coming from it and proudly exclaims, “Look mommy!  I made a balloon!”  Since we are studying the letter B, I created this page for him and put it in a sleeve protector so he could erase and draw again and again (and again!).  He requests to do this one several times a day.  You can download it here if you think your little one(s) may enjoy.

butterfly matching

butterfly lacing card

tracing the letter B

Do-a-dot Bb– this was his first time doing the dots in the circles and I was pleasantly surprised at how well he did!

Since ALuv really wanted to do it, I had him trace the upper and lower case B first, using the correct strokes for the formation of the letter.  He then had to do his dots in the same order.  (Gotta integrate that handwriting whenever you can!!!)

The butterfly and letter B activities in the former pictures came from Confessions of a Homeschooler.  This mama is truly amazing…and so are her free printables!

starfall’s letter B show

He also enjoyed the B Power Point show that Carisa created, but I didn’t get a picture of us doing that one.  You have to be a member to view it, but the membership is WELL worth it.  It’s only a one time fee of $15 and she adds new things quite often.

Sing a Song

We sing a lot over here!  Both my boys LOVE to sing.  I use songs to incorporate literacy quite a bit.  One of our favorites with the letter B has been Bringing Home a Baby Bumblebee.  Another song we’ve sung for a few days is one that I adapted in my Christian Nursery Rhymes book: Ba, Ba Black Sheep.

NJoy colored the sheep (I only had him color the black, blue, and brown sheep in his first sitting.  I demonstrated how these color names start with B.)

We sang the song, substituting a different color for black each time.  After seeing My Montessori Journey’s February poem on the pocket chart, I decided to put our song on our new pocket chart.  It worked nicely.

Pointing to the B‘s in Ba, Ba

As we continue to “do school” this summer, I’ll keep you posted on the things we do.  Thanks for following this reading mama!

Saturday's Sites

Passing along more great online literacy resources today…

  • I found an awesome online resource related to a question I posted earlier this week on Facebook: What things do you do with your child to keep her from forgetting what she learned the previous year in school?  This PDF ebook gives MANY  ideas of things to do during the summer months.
  • Annie @ The Moffatt Girls has posted Unit 3 from her Ready2Read series.  Free printables and lesson plans…gotta love that!
  • Michelle @ Beginning Reading Help has a great post with free online stories.  I’ve already checked quite a few of them out and am impressed.  Michelle is right in saying that kids love computer time, so here’s a sneaky way to get some more literature in there!

Christian Nursery Rhymes

I am so excited to share these Christian Nursery Rhymes with you! 

Please feel free to use this book with your own children and for gift giving purposes only (not to sell or to make a profit).  Please read the copyright & terms of use on the first page before you use it.  Thank you!

You may download my Christian Nursery Rhyme book here.  It may take a few minutes, but I think it will be worth it. 

I have a companion PDF file you can download here.  It will give you gift giving ideas and explain step-by-step (with photos) how I make the front and back cover.

I am contemplating creating some lesson plans/activities to go along with each nursery rhyme.  Please let me know if that would be something  of interest to you.  I’d love to get your feedback.

Disclaimer: If for some reason, these links don’t work, please let me know.  The last time I posted something from 4shared, their server was down and my link didn’t work for much of the day.  Hopefully, we’ll be in business today! 🙂

Enjoy!  And I hope if you haven’t already, you’ll  subscribe to This Reading Mama.


The Role of Nursery Rhymes

I’ve spent all week in phonological/phonemic awareness “land”.  And I told you in the beginning I had something exciting to share with you.  Well hang on; because today I want to recap a few things and talk about the role of nursery rhymes…and reveal my SURPRISE!

Did you know that reciting and learning nursery rhymes with your child can actually help him develop the foundational skills he needs to begin reading?

Why?  Because reading research has long shown that nursery rhymes help to develop phonological and phonemic awareness in young children.  In other words, nursery rhymes (and other kinds of rhyming texts such as Dr. Seuss, poetry, and music) can help kids develop an ear for the sounds and manipulation of those sounds within words.  Just ask any Kindermusik teacher!

Here is a great quote from that Yopp & Yopp article I’ve been referring to all week: 

“…songs, chants, and word-sound games are ideally suited toward developing young children’s sensitivity to the sound structure of language.  Word play, nursery or Dr. Seuss rhymes, and general exposure to storybooks contribute to phonemic awareness.”

Supporting Phonemic Awareness Development in the Classroom by Yopp & Yopp (The Reading Teacher; Vol. 54, No. 2)

When I learned about the benefit of nursery rhymes a few years ago, I decided it was time to start reading some to ALuv.  As I began reading, I was extremely uncomfortable and quite disturbed with the messages many of them sent to my sweet, innocent baby.  I was reading about boughs breaking and babies falling out of trees, an old woman whipping all her kids and sending them to bed, Jack falling down and cracking open his head!

I felt a strong calling to do something about it.  And I did.  I’ve been selling my Christian Nursery Rhyme adaptations ever since.  They’ve been used for birthdays, baby showers, and teachers’ gifts.   But just recently, I created a 2nd edition, adding 5 more rhymes and colored illustrations.  And I’d like to share it with you!

I will be sharing my FREE Ebook (really, it’s just a PDF File) tomorrow as well as a companion PDF file, showing you step-by-step how to assemble one for yourself.  I hope you will enjoy it with your own child and use it to bless others.

For those of you who would like to read more about the role of nursery rhymes,

  • Here is an online article that I think does a great job of giving reasons to teach nursery rhymes as well as some activities to try.
  • Reading Rockets also has an online article about nursery rhymes and poetry and their correlation with early reading.

Playing with Phonemes-Part 3

I am taking a little break from my usual Saturday’s Sites post to continue with my series on phonological & phonemic awareness.  There’s one more day of this series that I’ll post on Monday.  I’ll also be sharing more about my surprise then…I can’t wait to share it with you!

Phonemic Segmentation

There are many ways to work on phonemic segmentation, but I would like to highlight two of my favorite ways: Elkonin boxes & spelling words.


What are Elkonin boxes?  Boxes drawn side-by-side to represent the number of  phonemes or sounds in a word.  (Take note that the number of phonemes and the number of letters in a word may differ!)  Students listen for the individual sounds they hear in a word.  They can either put an object or a letter(s) to represent that sound in each box.

image from

For example, sheep has 5 letters, but 3 phonemes.  SH makes one sound /sh/, EE makes one sound /e/ and P makes one sound /p/.  I think Elkonin boxes are a great way to scaffold or support a young speller.

Here are some great online resources for using Elkonin boxes.

  • Mrs. Mc has a great activity with Cheez-It crackers and modified Elkonin boxes for her young learner.
  • Mrs. Kilburn’s Kiddos shows how she uses these boxes with CVC words.
  • Try this website for some Elkonin worksheets containing words with 3 or 4 phonemes (sounds)
  • Reading Rockets has an article and some children’s books you can use with the strategy

Once a child can successfully identify sounds in Elkonin boxes, a way to give him a little more independence in the task would be to say, “I’ve got 6 beans on this table.  I’m going to say a word.  Listen for the sounds you hear in the word and push a bean forward for each sound you hear.”


Another great strategy for developing the ear for phonemic segmentation in early readers is spelling!  And how a young child spells a word clues you in on her level of phonemic awareness.  For example, a child who spells B for bus has less knowledge about how the sounds in words work than a child who spells BOS for bus.

Invented (or phonetic) spelling is a great way to allow kids to stretch their phonemic “wings” and explore sounds in words.  Here is how you can do it:

Child: “Mom, I want to spell getting.”

Mama: “Okay, let’s s-t-r-e-t-c-h out the word and see what sounds we can feel in our mouth.”  Say the word very slowly.  “What sound did you feel/hear at the beginning?”

Child: “A g!”

Mama: “Good, write that down.  Now, let’s say the word again and listen for the next sound you hear/feel.”

The child may or may not be at a word knowledge level where she hears or feels the e and that’s okay.  If she misses the e and goes straight for the t, here are a couple of things you might say (and both work equally well).  It all depends on what you think your child can handle as to which strategy you use.

  1. You can model by saying, “Yes, you did hear a t.  Great job!  But I also heard an e.”  Say getting again and really emphasize the short e sound.  “So, let’s write an e before the t.”
  2. You can praise her efforts, having her write down the t and move on.

Continue doing this with the entire word.  At 5 1/2 years of age, ALuv’s most recent spelling of getting was GETG.

Stretching out the words as he spells makes him more aware of the sounds he feels in his mouth and hears with his ears when he says a word.  To see some of the reasons this reading mama likes spelling, click here.  Reading Rockets also has some great information about invented spelling.

Playing with Phonemes-Part 2

PHONEMIC MANIPULATION: There is A LOT of “meat” when it comes to manipulating phonemes!  This is more of an overview, not a comprehensive list.  If you have specific questions or comments, feel free to email me or comment directly on this post.

Again, I want to reiterate that you model these skills before you ask your child to try them.  Let her hear and see you do them before you set her free to try.  This will help to alleviate frustration on the part of your child (and yours as well!)

Phonemic Blending with Onsets and Rimes: Activities with onsets & rimes are a great way to start with phonemic manipulation.

  • To begin with onset and rime, take some picture cards (or objects from your sound tubs) of single syllable words.  The objects could be: cup, cat, dog, bug, goat.  You as the mama/teacher, say the name of an object by segmenting it into the onset and rime, pausing in between the two  (c-up, c-at, d-og, b-ug, and so on).  The child has to find the object/picture card to which you are referring.
  • We like to do the above activity when reading I Spy books.  ALuv has been fascinated with these books for about a year now.  Instead of saying, “I spy a duck”, sometimes I’ll say, “I spy a d-uck.”  This is another way to live literacy.

Moving from phonemes to phonics with onset & rime:

  • Once your child seems to have a grasp for blending together the onset and rimes, written word family games are fun (if you are using the written symbols, you’ve stepped into the phonics world).
  • To keep it extremely simple, write a rime, such as -at, on an index card.  On other index cards write a few onsets: b, c, f, m, r, and so on.  Place the onsets upside down and as you draw one, add it to -at to make a word.  It will sound like this /b/-/at/: bat!  You could make it silly by placing some onsets in the mix that would not make real words, such as gat.  When you add silly words to the mix, make sure you ask your child, “Is it a real or silly word?”
  • I’ve got more activities on my blog (click on the category Word Families) and you can find MANY more by googling “word families”.  I wanted to link some here, but became overwhelmed at the thought!!  There’s SO much out there!

I will mention one resource.  For some free online activities with onset and rime, check out these games originally from Florida’s Reading Research Center.

Individual Phoneme Blending:

  • Once a child can blend together onset and rime chunks to make words, a good thing to try is blending together individual sounds to make a word.  For example, “Listen to me say this word in a funny way: /d/-/o/-/t/.  [separate each sound].  Can you tell what word I was saying?” (dot)
  • You can also do this with picture cards or objects.  Lay several out in front of your child and say, “Can you find the /h/-/a/-/t/?”
  • I like to do this with our I Spy books, like I mentioned above.  “I spy a /d/-/u/-/k/ (duck).”  This is a great way to model this skill!
  • Check out the awesome blending game I discovered just this week on Stay and Play.  I’ve only seen portions of her blog and already know I’m going to LOVE it!

Live literacy with these skills.  Try them in the van, doctor’s office, anywhere you may have to wait or have some down time.  Make it a game…make it fun!  When you need your child to get a cup for their juice, say, “Can you get a c-up or /k/-/u/-/p/?”

Also, check out Bee Ready to Read’s sections: Blending and Manipulation for more ideas!

Remember to follow me on this phonological awareness journey and I have a surprise for you next week!

Playing with Phonemes-Part 1

The smallest unit of sound in the spoken language is a phoneme.  Once a child begins to isolate, blend, segment, and manipulate sounds at the phoneme level, her literacy world really begins to explode.  You’ll see how in these next posts.

Phonemic Isolation:

Developmentally speaking, the best way to introduce phonemic isolation is:

  1. initial sound in a word- “What sound do you hear at the beginning of the word?” 
  2. final sound-“What sound do you hear at the end of the word?”
  3. medial sound-“What sound do you hear in the middle of the word?”

When you examine kids’ spellings, this is the natural way they spell as they develop in their phonemic awareness.  They start by writing initial consonants; so bed may first be spelled B.  Then they may add the d to spell BD.  And finally, BAD or BED for bed.


Montessori inspired me with her sound tubs, so I created a set of my own for use when I taught public school.  ALuv used them (and we still do from time to time) and I plan on beginning some work on these with NJoy soon.

This is how I know that he is ready to try: at a little over 2 years of age, he knew his letter names-both upper and lower case (he pretty much taught himself)!  These days, you can hear him singing, “B says /b/” or “T says /t/” around the house or asking me, “Mommy, what’s that S  say?”;  so I can tell he’s ready for some work on letter sounds.  (Just a side note: NJoy is ahead of the game.  ALuv didn’t know all his letters until 3.5 years of age and still others do not until they are 4 or 5 years of age.  All of these ages are within the “normal” r ange.  Please do not compare your 2 year old to mine.)

Here are a couple of pictures of my sound tubs (nothing fancy):

I collected 6 objects for each letter of the alphabet.  I had a few extra containers left over, so I also have a tub for ch, sh and th.

Our Gg Tub

Some of my tubs, take for instance by G tub, have objects in which there are blends at the beginning of the word (like glasses or grasshopper); which is probably not ideal, but I’m not too concerned about this.

You can purchase your own set too, but I didn’t want to fork out the money.  It was way cheaper to put them together myself.  I collected objects from around the house and went shopping (craft stores, the $1 store & Goodwill worked very well for me!).


Initial Sound Play: To use these objects, I first start with one sound tub (let’s say B).  I pull out all the objects and say the name of each object like this “/b/, /b/, /b/  ball.”  We do this tub a few days in a row, doing the same thing each day-pull out the objects, naming each one.  I let the child chime in to help when he feels ready.  Once I see that my child feels comfortable with the B tub, I’ll pull out the S tub and do the same thing with it.

After I feel the child has a grasp on those object names and initial letter sounds, I pull out all the objects from both the B and S tub and I mix them up.  I lay out a mat (see picture below) and sort the objects by letter sound, remembering to over emphasize the first sound in the word.  The mat is made with construction paper and permanent marker.  (I “stole” this idea from a Montessori K class I observed.)

B tub-baby, ball, bell, bread, button, & bunny

S tub-snake, stop sign, seal, spider, & stool

I like the sound tubs because the same objects can be used to teach initial, final and middle sound.  I would caution that with the final and middle sounds, I’ve found it’s easier for a child to do when you pick an object that’s only 1 syllable (such as cat, bell, or sock)For example, I can go into my sound tubs and pull out these 6 objects that all end in the letter T and use them to work on sorting objects with the final /t/ sound.

Just recently, I noticed that Nicole @ The Activity Mom has a more efficient way to store her letter objects.  I wish I’d seen her idea 6 years ago!

If you don’t want to make your own sound tubs (I won’t lie…it took some work!), you can use picture cards.

  • I like the picture cards in the back of Words Their Way.  The supplement booklets (this one, too) for kids in this stage of spelling/reading also have pictures sorts already created for you!
  • Florida’s Center for Reading Research also has free activities and picture cards you can download, print off, and use.  Click here and here for those.
  • Here’s an idea I did with ALuv not too long ago with picture cards from Words Their Way in which we sorted pictures by middle sound.

And to keep prep time to zero, you can integrate phonemic isolation into everyday life as you live literacy together.  For example, while getting your child dressed, you can say things like, “/s/ /s/ /s/ sock.  That starts with the /s/ sound, just like your name /s/ /s/ /s/ Sam!”

Playing With Syllables

Next on the “list” of phonological awareness skills is helping a child to blend, segment (count) and delete syllables.

Teaching and learning syllables occurs much the same way as everything else.  First, you as the mama/teacher need to model over and over how it’s done, giving your child multiple and meaningful exposures.  When your child seems ready (he’s offering more imput when you model), give him a chance to try it with support, and finally set him free to do it independently.

Blending Syllables:

  • Model by playing games like this: “I’m going to say kitchen in a funny way.  Listen: kit-chen.”  (Putting space in between the syllables.)  Doesn’t it sound funny like that?
  • Ask them to try: “I’m going to say a word in a funny (slow) way.  Listen and see if you can tell me what word I’m saying: fing-er.”

Segmenting/Counting Syllables:

  • Here’s a post I did on counting syllables with ALuv.  In this post, we also looked at the written words after he counted syllables.
  • Reading books featuring characters with long names, like Chrysanthemum by Keven Henkes or Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, is a fun way to let kids compare the syllables in their own names to that of the characters.
  • Give kids unifix cubes that snap together.  Call out a word and have your child snap the corresponding unifx cubes to the number of syllables in the word.  If you don’t have unifix cubes, you could use dried beans or any small manipulative and ask your child to put that many in a row.  You could also make this activity more active by having your child jump for each syllable.
  • Clap the Syllable Printables by Annie @ The Moffatt Girls
  • Check out Swinging and Clapping by Amy @ Teach Mama

By the way, I think it’s awesome how Amy integrates phonological awareness into everyday life.  I call this “living literacy”.  Because it doesn’t require pencil and paper, these types of activities can be done anywhere.  My favorite places to do them are in the line at the grocery store, waiting at the doctor’s office, in the bathtub, in the van, or outside swinging in the swing.

Deleting Syllables:

  • Mama: “Wow, listen to this!  If I said chapstick without chap, I would just have stick left.”
  • Here’s a free lesson plan on deleting syllables within compound words

A couple more resources:

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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