Did you know that asking children about words that rhyme is often included on kindergarten readiness evaluations? Not all kids will be able to rhyme words before they start kindergarten and this tells teachers which ones will need more activities with words and sounds.
Why is rhyming words so important? Children need to be able to hear the bits of sounds that make up words. These sound pieces can them be recombined to make different words. (This is called phonological awareness.) For instance, the ‘at” in cat is one sound piece that is in mat, hat, and rat. Or the ‘ug’ in bug can be in mug, run, tug, and dug.
Kids need exposure to lots of words before they develop this ability to divide words into their sound parts. One way we can tell when their brains have made the connections for this is when they can say words that rhyme. Kids will figure this out all their own as long as we give them plenty of language stimulation. This can be with songs, stories, books, and talking together as much as possible. As you zip up a coat or button a sweater, you can tell your child that now he is as snug as a bug in a rug. Or ask your bug if she would like her juice in a mug.
Many children’s books have words that rhyme. This book by Bob Barner has wonderful pictures of all kinds of bugs as well as simple rhyming text. Can you turn your Monday into fun-day with some bugs and hugs?