Rhyming is a critical skill in the early literacy years. In fact, being able to recognize rhyme scheme is a great indicator of how quickly a child will pick up on reading as they go through school! A focus on how to help students master rhyming in the early years is so necessary!
But why is rhyme so important? Chances are, you have no memories of anyone teaching you how to rhyme. Learning rhyme is absorbed through lots of phonemic awareness practice. This can be done through nursery rhymes, poems, and explicit oral practice of sounds and words.
But, because so many of us don’t have memories of learning rhyme, we as teachers don’t always understand how crucial it is for students. However, it is crucial to help kids build upon their reading skills! I’d like to share with you three BIG reasons why we need to make sure our youngest readers have rhyme mastery before we send them off to older grades!!
Why Rhyme is So important
- Hearing rhyme is the first time students are exposed to the idea of segmenting words.
When a student recognizes that ‘sing’ and ‘thing’ end the same way, even if they only recognize it after hearing you read the words aloud, they are doing an early version of segmenting a word! How often will we call upon students to segment words in their future reading life? ALL of the time! If a student can separate the first consonant sounds from a rhyme at the end of the word, then they are well on their way to being able to isolate other sounds in words, and in turn being able to decode anything!
- Recognizing rhyming patterns introduces prediction skills.
When students are exposed to nursery rhymes, songs, poems, and other texts with rhyming patterns, they learn to anticipate what the last word in each line may sound like.
‘Twinkle, twinkle little star. How I wonder what you….”
Students who know that the last word in a line needs to sound like the last word in the line before it will be able to make a stronger prediction about what the word might be. It seems small, but this is the first step in making logical predictions about a text! And it can happen before students are even reading the texts themselves.
- Rhyme teaches students that reading has rhythm and expression.
When students read texts that rhyme, not only are they a little more engaged (because rhymes sound so fun!), but they begin to understand the idea of cadence, expression, and rhythm. It’s clear when a sentence ends, so it’s easier to understand when to drop your voice, raise your voice, etc. This is something that will greatly benefit them as they get older and begin reading more complex texts!
How can I practice rhyme in my classroom?
In my TPT store, I have a set of 30 rhyming stories for early readers to use! The texts are simple, and emphasize a handful of rhyming words in each story!
These are the perfect, short texts to reinforce rhyme for all of your students, but specifically those students who may struggle to identify rhyme orally. It’s great for them to see the matching letters on paper!
Along with the 30 stories, printable cards with the rhyming words from each text are also included! You can use these for any variety activities, and I’ve even included a suggested list for small groups, video calls, or whole group activities in the product download!
You may also find this blog post with more ideas you can use to help your students master rhyming!