For homeschool parents trying to learn how to teach rhyming skills to preschoolers – this article is for you.
How to Teach Rhyming Skills to Preschoolers
We all know the impact that strong reading skills have on a child’s learning and future. We all wish for our children to develop those skills. Did you know that learning how to read begins well before children actually start putting together letters and words? It begins with hearing books read aloud and learning the basics of how language works. This is called phonemic awareness. An important step in developing phonemic awareness is being able to identify rhyming words. Although a seemingly small skill, it is a vital one for developing competent readers. As parents and teachers, we can do things to gently encourage kids to tune into rhyming words.
So, what are some easy ways to incorporate rhyming skills into the life of your preschooler or kindergartner? Below are some simple ideas to get you started.
Read nursery rhymes!
Although these nursery rhymes may seem old fashioned or silly to us, they are very important for building a child’s concept of phonemic awareness. The repetitive nature of the nursery rhymes, the rhythm of the verses, and the imaginative subject material helps kids to build many different skills. They are easy to memorize, too. You could pick a few of your favorites and memorize them and say them together throughout the day!
Use objects around the house.
Gather some toys and objects from around the house (look for pairs of things that rhyme) and put them in a basket. Have the child match items that rhyme, by saying the words aloud.
Read Dr. Seuss’s books.
These books have lots of good rhyming words and children love the crazy stories and creatures in them.
Use hand-clapping rhymes.
There are some classic rhymes that kids have been clapping to for many years. Teach your little ones such rhymes as Miss Mary Mack, Pat-a-Cake, A Sailor Went to Sea, etc. If you don’t remember how they go, look them up online! The hand-clapping action will get the kids engaged, build coordination, and cement the rhymes in their heads forever!
Learn word families and CVC spelling patterns.
For early readers, you can practice simple words that rhyme, by looking at them and noticing the patterns in the way the words are spelled. Early readers can distinguish CVC words easily, and they often make great rhyming words to practice! For example, one CVC pattern is “_at” and words that rhyme can be called a word family. Words in the “_at” family are cat, bat, rat, sat, fat, mat, and so on. Here is a great way how to practice rhyming with preschoolers, along with a special Noah’s Ark Poem.
Play “I Spy” with rhyming words.
You can play “I Spy” with your child by saying that you spy something that rhymes with ______. See if the child can find the item in the room that rhymes with the one you gave.
Have fun with nonsense words.
Let kids make up words to rhyme with words they are given. They will think it’s funny and it will get them listening more closely to sounds.
Sing and play together.
There are lots of kids songs that rhyme and that have great finger-plays for kids to learn. For example, Five Green and Speckled Frogs, The Itsy Bitsy Spider, Five Little Monkeys Swinging in a Tree, just to name a few! Play music throughout the day, sing with your child, and encourage them to learn the words and movements to the songs. You can point out the specific words that rhyme. Your kids will love it!
Write your own rhymes!
You and your child could come up with your own silly rhyme about something that happened during the day. Then share it with the family at dinner time. It will stretch your kids to think creatively. Take it a step further by writing it down and letting your child illustrate your silly rhyme.
As you can see, it is so simple to incorporate the foundational skill of recognizing rhyming words in your everyday life with your preschooler. The many moments that you share with them can be turned into learning opportunities. You will be building the foundation of strong reading skills by developing phonemic awareness. Plus, you will have lots of fun!