Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider may not have the most compelling storylines (it’s mostly lots of falling down, right?), but these beloved nursery rhyme characters have entertained generations of children with their antics. Why? Well, nursery rhymes are silly, catchy, and memorable. They also happen to be a fantastic pre-reading tool. In fact, exposing young children to rhymes even before they can understand the principle behind rhyming is as important as introducing children to music before they can create it, or to books before they can read them.
Being able to hear and identify words that rhyme is the earliest phonemic awareness task. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that a word is made up of a sequence of discrete sounds, or phonemes, and it is an essential skill for learning to read. Plus, rhyming is the precursor skill to identifying syllables within words.
3 Tips for Playing Rhyming Games with Young Children:
- Ask children to listen for the “words that sound alike.”
- Try to use rhyming words that have only one syllable, such as cat, sat, and mat.
- When first introducing the concept of rhyming, use words that can be associated with pictures, such as bat and hat. Later, progress to playing rhyming games without visual support.
Looking for more activities that support a young child’s development? Find a local Kindermusik educator at www.kindermusik.com and visit a class.