Long before kids are introduced to reading written words, they are busy developing important oral language skills. Phonemic awareness is all about the ability to identify, compare, and rearrange letter sounds. Phonemic awareness is considered a strong predictor of children’s early reading successes.
Rhyming is one of the most basic phonemic awareness skills. Working with rhymes encourages preschoolers to hear, identify, and match word patterns, such as cat, rat, fat, mat, bat. Here are some fun & easy ways to play & rhyme with your preschooler:
- Read rhyming books. While you are reading, stop before you complete a rhyme and let your child provide the missing word. For example, “I will not eat them in a boat. I will not eat them with a (goat).”
- Say a word and see how many rhyming words your child can think of. Good starter words include dog, man, cat, sun, play, kick, and ring.
- Make up silly sentences using as many rhyming words as you can: If you lick the chick or kick the brick you might get sick.
- Sing songs, read poems, say nursery rhymes together. All this word play is great “food” for growing minds!
- Draw pictures of word pairs that rhyme on index cards (or print-out clip art). Use this deck of rhyming cards to play Go Fish, memory, or hide one set of cards around the room, and have your child find the matching partner for each rhyme. Make up your own games too!
- Draw silly animals or monsters, then make up silly rhyming names for them, like purple skurple furple.