If your child is four years old, skip through to Activity 6. If your child is five years old and in Kindergarten, consider skipping the Rhyming module to Activity 1 in the Sentences & Words module. See Fast Track for more details.

1. Overview

Recite poems and sing songs with lots of rhymes in them, emphasizing and calling attention to the rhymes in various ways. Your child will learn that different words can sound very similar.
rhyming songs poems
B1: Rhyming Songs & Poems
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2. Materials

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3. Preparation

Explain to your child that words that sound the same at the end are rhyming words. For example, cat and hat are rhyming words because they both end with an -at sound. Demonstrate how you can take one word and create a rhyme for it by substituting a different sound at the beginning: for example, start with the word mat, replace the /mmm/ sound with the /rrr/ sound at the beginning of the word, and you get a new word, rat. NOTE: A lot of children think words that start with the same sound (e.g., ball and bike) rhyme. Be clear about what rhyming actually means. Remember also that rhyming is a listening/speaking activity and has nothing to do with spelling. ↑ Top

4. Activity

You are probably already reading to your child, teaching him a variety of children’s songs and poems. As you read, draw your child’s attention to the rhymes in familiar rhymes and poems.
Video: How to play Rhyming Songs & Poems
Start with nursery rhymes and songs that your child already has memorized, so that he can focus on the rhymes rather than remembering the lines. Also, start with short and simple songs or poems with very obvious rhymes, such as “Humpty Dumpty” or “Itsy Bitsy Spider.” Draw your child’s attention to the rhyming words by going through the poems and songs in a variety of ways: 1. Whisper the poem, but say the rhyming words in a regular voice. Alternately, say the poem loudly, but whisper the rhyming words.
Adult: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. All the king’s horses, and all the king’s men Couldn’t put Humpty together again! Adult: What word rhymed with Humpty? Child: Humpty Dumpty! Adult: That’s right. What word rhymed with wall? Child: Um… Adult: Remember how the poem goes: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great Child: Fall!
2. Now reverse the process. Whisper the poem, but when you come to the rhyming word, have the child say the rhyming word in a regular voice. Alternately, say the poem loudly, but have the child whisper the rhyming words.
Adult: I’m going to say a poem, very quietly, and you help me by saying the rhyming words nice and loud, okay? Here we go: Humpty Child: Dumpty! Adult: Yes! Humpty Dumpty sat on a Child: Wall! Adult: That’s right. Humpty Child: Dumpty! Adult: Had a great Child: Fall!
3. Change a few words to “mess up” some of the rhymes. Have your child raise his hand, clap, etc. when the words at the end of two lines rhyme. Have him shake his head, give a thumbs-down, etc. when they do not rhyme. Have him say the words out loud: “Fox and box are rhyming words!” or “No, bat and dog do not rhyme.”
Adult: Humpty Hipster sat on a wall Child: No! You got it wrong! Adult: I did? What should I have said? Child: Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall! Adult: That’s right, because Humpty rhymes with Dumpty. Say that: Humpty rhymes with Dumpty. Child: Humpty rhymes with Dumpty. Adult: OK, let’s try again. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great tumble. Child: No, you got it wrong again!
Note: Do not show your child the spelling of the written words. This is a listening activity! In fact, rhyming parts of two words can be spelled very differently, such as in the sentence “I knew that you fell through the blue canoe.” ↑ Top

5. Extension

Once your child has a firm understanding of the activity, move on to less familiar songs and poems. You can also do the above activities with storybooks and longer pieces where your child has to work a little harder to hear the rhyming. Alternately, when the child catches “mistakes” in the rhymes, ask him to tell you how to “fix” the rhyme. ↑ Top

6. Variation

Have the child shake a noisemaker (like a rattle or tambourine) or perform a movement (raise hand, jump up) when he hears a rhyme. This is a great game to play outside the house, in the car, running errands, etc. Just pick a favorite nursery rhyme and have at it! ↑ Top

7. Small Groups (2-5 children)

Lesson Objective: Children will be able to hear and identify spoken words that rhyme. GELDS (Georgia Early Learning & Development Standards): CLL6.3b Georgia Standards of Excellence: ELAGSEKRF2.a Common Core State Standards: CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RF.K.2.A Adaptation: Read the main activity, watch the video, and follow the instructions above, with the following changes: Divide the small group into pairs. Give the partners a choice of two rhymes to recite, with your help. Decide where to add the “mistake” and what word you will substitute. The rest of the class will give a thumbs up when they hear the correct rhyme and thumbs down for the mistake. To be sure children understand the concept of rhyming (words that sound alike at the end), start with mistakes that are due to the lack of rhyming words at the end of a two-line couplet. For example:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great crash. [Children give thumbs down]
Later on, use two-line rhyming couplets that end with a wrong word that still rhymes.For example:
Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great ball. [Children give thumbs down]
Reinforcement: Repeat the activity above with another rhyme or song. Recitation is also an important skill. Use this Reinforcement at Home form to tell parents and guardians how they can reinforce lessons outside the classroom. ↑ Top

One Response to “B1: Rhyming Songs & Poems”

  1. Evelyn Smith

    I’ve been looking for ways to teach sight words to my head start class of 3 year-old. I will take your activities to school and try them. I will keep you posted and let you know the outcome.

    Thank you

    Evelyn Smith


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