Time for rhyme

Songs and games with rhyming words are an important part of any early childhood program. Children’s books use rhyme to create rhythm and interest. Rhyming words sound the same at the end

mouse/house, cat/bat and so on.

Rhyming is mainly a function of sound rather than spelling. For example, words that rhyme end with the same vowel and consonant sound but can have different spellings

stay – prey – weigh – bouquet.

rain – vein – lane

who – moo – flue

On the other hand, words that contain the same letter patterns may not rhyme, for example

move – love

Let’s take a moment to look a little deeper at rhyming. There is more to it than meets the ear!

Recognising rhymes is an early phonological (sounds) awareness skill. Phonological awareness is the explicit understanding that spoken words consist of smaller parts: syllables, onsets and rimes, and phonemes (Gillon 2004).

Syllables are units of pronunciation that contain vowels and often consonants

cat-a pill-ar



Onset is the first sound or consonant blend in a word

c in cat

str in street

pl in play

Rime (not a spelling mistake) refers to the sounds that follow the onset, usually a vowel and final consonants

at in cat

ent in tent

So words with common rimes are rhyming words! This is one way that children begin to be able to hear that words contain smaller parts. They can break down words into onset and rimes and eventually will hear and learn that words are made up of individual sounds. When they can do this, they will find learning to read much easier.

As educators and parents we can teach children rhyming songs and stories. Not all rhyming activities are equal and some are more difficult than others. Recognising rhyme is easier than generating rhyming words. It is important to build on early skills.

Rhyming skills are an early  phonological awareness skill that is not a strong predictor of later reading success. However, rhyming activities are fun and engaging and most children are good at rhyming. If a child can’t rhyme, it may indicate a need for more focused assessment and intervention.

I will be talking more about the importance of rhyming in my free webinar this month.

Free webinar

Join me on Wednesday 14 April 2021 for the next in my free webinar series. Rhyming games and activities are an important part of your early childhood program. I will be giving you some new ideas about how to include rhyming in your everyday activities. The Sounds good to me programs for educators and parents include downloadable rhyming activities and games. I look forward to telling you more about our wonderful programs!

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For educators

The Sounds good to me course is designed for use in early childhood services and centres. It provides both excellent professional development for your team as well as everything you need to implement a fun, play based program of lessons and activities suitable for your 3-5 year group.

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Sounds good to me – for parents was created by Speech Pathologists, covering all aspects of early literacy (language and reading) skills that your child needs before they start school.

Each video lesson comes with downloadable games, activities and information.

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