Children enter the early childhood classroom from various backgrounds, from those who were read to starting from the womb and others having little to no exposure to the written word. Fostering an environment that helps youngsters develop these skills no matter their experience is beneficial for all.
Rhyming involves the repetition of ending word sounds. Hearing, identifying, and creating rhymes allows students to understand how words and language work. It helps them anticipate and predict, which are valuable reading skills.
Rhyming games and songs are an excellent tool to aid children in identifying beginning sounds and rhyming words. These types of activities allow students to hear and repeat sounds, manipulate words, and rhyme. Understanding these concepts prepares them for more complex skills later.
A combination of implicit and explicit rhyming instruction can be useful. Implicit training involves rhyming skills in context, like chanting a nursery rhyme together. Teaching about rhymes, modeling the concept, and allowing students to complete the activity is an example of explicit instruction.
How to Teach Rhymes
- Rhyming Songs – “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and “B-I-N-G-O”
- Nursery Rhymes – “Little Boy Blue” and “Open Them, Shut Them”
- Rhyming Books – Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
- Word Comparisons – Students determine whether provided spoken words rhyme or not.
- Matching Games – Games like Memory or Concentration with picture cards.
- Additional Activities – Show students three pictures, two of which rhyme and one that does not. Children must identify the picture that does not belong.
Repetition of favorite songs and books emphasizes the concept. Find a few that your class enjoys and use them often throughout the year. After you develop a classroom rhyme repertoire, allow students to choose their favorites to read/recite during a specific day or week.
This is just one important topic that is covered on the Foundations of Reading certification exam that is required for many licenses, including the elementary teaching license.