Updated: Mar 19, 2022
How early is too early to start rhyming words with children? Research suggests that kids can start learning rhyming words at a young age, around three, and the more they practice rhyming words the stronger readers they become. Why is learning rhyming words important? When a child can hear that two sounds rhyme they are also noticing the differences among individual sounds. If a child can recognize that sat and mat don’t rhyme with pig they are already learning to listen to the individual sounds in a word. It is important to start with rhyming words as an oral activity so children can hear the sounds. This will progress into the child being able to notice the differences in print. There are so many fun ways to practice rhyming words and start to build a reading foundation.
The itsy, bitsy spider went up the water spout. Down came the rain and washed the spider out. Nursery rhymes are fun and really start teaching kids about rhyming words without them even being aware. After the rhyme is learned, taking the rhyming words out and talking about them is beneficial. Singing nursery rhymes is a FREE and fun way to start your child off with reading. As they get older they can even use printed versions of the nursery rhymes to find rhyming words on their own and to look at the patterns of the words.
Word Family Activities
Reading books with word families is another fun way to practice rhyming. Not only will they be hearing words that rhyme in the books they can start recognizing patterns. Word family flip books are another tool that can be used to practice words that rhyme. We want to make sure kids know that not all rhyming words are spelled exactly the same but that can be done when they get better at rhyming words that follow the same spelling patterns. Kids also like to play games, so why not make them educational games. One of my favorite games to play with kids is matching word families. This game was created as a fun way to see words that have patterns and categorize them. It can start with the adult reading the words and talking about the patterns and then as the kids get better at it they can read the words when they match them.
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Reading poems with children is another great way to practice rhyming with kids. When reading poems have the children tell you which words rhyme. You can also stop at the rhyming word and see if they can fill in the blank. They love figuring out the missing word. Once they get really good at hearing the rhyming words they can start to think of other words that also rhyme. Poems can be funny or educational topics but no matter what using rhyming poems with children is beneficial.
I love to read with kids. I began reading with my own kids from day one and made sure we kept reading a regular part of their schedules as they grew up. When you are reading to young kids, finding books that rhyme such as Rumble in the Jungle and Sheep in the Jeep are great read alouds for kids. While you read, take the opportunity to see if kids can hear the rhyming words. Not only are they being exposed to great books they are learning to listen closely to the words and sounds that make up each word.