Over the summer months, I will be doing a series on Wednesdays that welcomes guest writers to share stories of family traditions. In addition, from time to time, I will share other writers and their work with you. Today Kathryn talks about the importance of Rhyme. Teaching children to hear and produce rhyming words at an early age will strengthen their literacy skills. Find out more below!

Guest Post-Becoming a Rhyme Master

by Kathryn Starke

Parents and teachers are always reciting nursery rhymes, singing songs, and reading Dr. Seuss stories with our young children. After all of this preparation, why do our second-fifth graders have such difficulty with rhyme? Children have heard the term rhyme a thousand times but when asked to locate a rhyme pair in a sentence or phrase their answers are often opposites like up and down or same initial consonants like soap and sock. It is evident that children learn many concepts, but we have to teach them to fully understand the purpose of each of them; an important one in early literacy is to teach our young children how to become a rhyme master.

Continue to chant those nursery rhymes, sing classic songs like Down by the Bay or This Old Man, and read any story with a lot of rhyme. Talk to them about rhyme and have them listen for the words that sound the exact same at the end. Read together but have them supply the missing rhyming word. An example would be Little Miss Muffet sat on a _________ or Little Jack Horner sat in the _________________. Another more active idea is to throw a ball back and forth while adding a rhyming word. For example, round one would be any words that rhyme with pen. One person would state a word that rhymes then toss the ball; the second person does the same thing. This continues until no more words can be added then round two with a new word begins.

Children who have a solid foundation of rhyme and ending sounds will be able to read earlier since they will have a bank of word families (ex:-at, -ing,-op) locked in their brains. We use word families in kindergarten, first, and second grade as we teach decoding and phonics as one aspect of reading. Understanding rhyme is a great indicator of an early reader!

Kathryn Starke

Literacy Specialist/Children’s Author/Keynote Speaker

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