Written by Jaimi Bird, M.A., CCC-SLP
Phonological awareness is a term that refers to a group of pre-reading skills that are important for literacy and language development. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear sounds that make up words in spoken language. This includes recognizing words that rhyme, deciding whether words begin or end with the same sounds, understanding that syllables and sounds can be manipulated to create new words, and separating words into syllables and into their individual sounds.
Let’s focus on rhyming! The ability to rhyme is an early literacy skill that most children have mastered by five years old. Research has shown a correlation between rhyming mastery and eventual reading preparedness. Rhyming also helps kids improve their oral language skills. Therefore, it’s important to build rhyming activities into your day to help your child lay a solid foundation for reading.
Simply stated, words that rhyme sound the same at the end! Make rhyming fun by using some of these ideas.
Read books with rhymes!
While reading books to your child that contain rhyming words, emphasize the rhyming words as you read. At the end of a page with rhymes repeat the rhyming words, have your child name the word that rhymes with a word you say. Dr. Seuss books are great for this, some of my other favorites include “Bear Wants More” by Karma Wilson, “Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin, Jr., and “Snowmen at Night” by Caralyn Buehner.
Rhyming songs are a fun way to increase rhyme awareness. Some of my favorite songs are “Wheels on the Bus”, “Itsy Bitsy Spider” and the “Bumblebee Song” by Laurie Berkner (I love all her music! you can find it here ) and traditional Mother Goose rhymes like, “Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall, Humpty Dumpty had a great _____”. Here is a great list of nursery rhymes.
Play with words!
Make silly rhyme chains. Don’t be afraid to use both real words and nonsense words. For example, “toy, boy, roy, poy, noy” or “ball, tall, sall, doll, paul”. When rhyming we are not going to focus on how the words are spelled. Instead we want to focus on how the words sound. In the example above you will notice that “tall” and “doll” aren’t spelled with the same letters, but they do sound the same – they rhyme!
Say a sentence to your child but leave the last word blank. Ask your child to provide a rhyming word. For example, say “I see a dog on a _______.” Your child could say, “log,” “hog,” “bog,” or “frog.”
Give your child a list of words, two of which rhyme. Ask him to identify the words that rhyme. For example, if you said “bell, box, fell,” he would identify “bell and fell” as the words that rhyme with each other.
Create a rhyme game!
Word families are made up of rhymes (for example: pan, can, tan, ran, fan). You can find many word family and rhyme games online. Playdoughtoplato created this one, it shows you how to make a word family rhyme wheel.
Have fun rhyming with your kids at home!
Jaimi Bird is a Speech-Language Pathologist at Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center. ETLC has locations in the Iowa City, IA area and Des Moines, IA area. We provide individual speech language therapy and tutoring as well as offer a unique group, the Language Enrichment Academic Program (LEAP). At Enrichment Therapy and Learning Center our passion is to help kids achieve effective communication skills and gain academic success. Contact us for more information on how we can help your child succeed.
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