If you want your child to be a successful reader (and of course you do!), it’s so important that you know how to teach your child to rhyme.
Rhyming is a super-important skill (see Why Is Rhyming Important?) that can be taught with two of my favorite things: books and games.
How to teach your child to rhyme
Read nursery rhymes – and read them some more!
They are easy to find and fun to learn. Get them out, and make them a regular part of your child’s infancy, toddlerhood, and preschool years.
a. Make a recording of yourself reading nursery rhymes and play them in the car. I did this before my oldest could talk, and it was a listening favorite for several years.
b. When your child knows her nursery rhymes, have her listen as you recite a familiar rhyme with one mistake. Then have her say “Beep Beep!” or play a rhythm instrument when she hears the wrong word. Let her supply the right one.
c. Invest in some great nursery rhyme books.
d. Read the rhymes, but don’t stop there. Recite them. Sing them. Clap them. Act them out!
Read rhyming picture books over and over again.
As your child becomes familiar with the books, leave out the rhyming word and pause. Ask her what comes next. You can then identify the rhyming words. “That’s right! Mouse rhymes with house.” Click on the link below to find several rhyming book lists!
Play rhyming games.
a. Give clues for the same rhyming family.
Here’s an example from the –at family:
This animal says “meow.” (cat)
This animal sleeps upside down. (bat)
This is something by the door you might step on. (mat)
b. Ask for a particular type of word that rhymes with the word you give. It’s okay to use nonsense words.
What’s an animal that rhymes with wig?
What’s a color that rhymes with mean?
What’s a food that rhymes with maghetti?
c. Make up rhymes and have your child fill in the missing word. Here are some examples:
My old gray cat caught a great big _____.
The big yellow duck was driving the ________.
d. Is it a… You start and let your child finish the rhymes.
You: Is it a shirt?
Child: No, it’s dirt!
You: Is it a pear?
Child: No, it’s hair!
e. Say three words to your child. She gives a thumbs up if the words rhyme. If not, it’s thumbs down.
f. Make a rhyming chain. Name a word. Take turns naming a word that rhymes. When you run out of words or an incorrect word is given, the chain is broken. Start a new chain.
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