How Rhymes Prepare Kids for Schooltime

Rhymes Prepare Kids

As a child, I remember learning several nursery rhymes and likely annoying my family as I would recite them over and over and over. Rhymes such as:

Baa, baa black sheep, have you any wool?

Row, row, row your boat, Gently down the stream.

Hickory dickory dock, The mouse ran up the clock.

As an adult, I can recite these same rhymes just as quickly as I did when I was a child. I still sing a few of them to my kids at bedtime because I love them so much.

I didn’t realize at the time those beloved nursery rhymes were also preparing me to read. Research shows children who are familiar with rhymes have an easier time learning to read when they enter school.

The Benefit of Rhymes

How do rhymes prepare kids to read?

Teaches how language works. Rhymes help young children learn the sounds and syllables in words. It teaches them to playfully manipulate the oral language. This is called phonological awareness and is an important skill for reading readiness.

Make predictions. Rhyming words help children make predictions about the next word and anticipate what will come next. This is another important skill in learning to read.

Rhyming is fun. If the activity isn’t fun, your child is less likely to want to engage in it. Rhymes that are silly and playful (and often have a melody) are fun for your child to learn. It’s much easier to teach your child a new skill when they are a willing participant. 

Rhyming Activities

Here are a few ways to engage your kids in rhyming every day:

Read rhyming books. It’s no accident that three of our four personalized books rhyme. Our author is a huge fan of rhyming (his beloved rhyming dictionary is falling apart and bound by duct tape), and while it’s more difficult to write with rhyme, the end result truly delights the reader.

The same is true for our kids poetry book, The Yeti in My Freezer. The poems rhyme, making them easy and fun to read. It doesn’t hurt that they are extra silly, too!

Poems That Rhyme

Some of our kids’ favorite books when they were little were written by Dr. Seuss. I can still recite all the words to Go, Dog, Go and Mr. Brown Can Moo, Can You, because we read them so often.

Sing with your child. Read and sing some of your favorite nursery rhymes as a child. Combining rhythm and rhyme makes for the double the fun and double the impact. And don’t worry if your voice isn’t up to par. Your child will love to hear you sing no matter what!

Our middle son is learning state capitals in school and he’s using a song to help him memorize them. When our youngest son was introduced to the months of the year, again a song was used for reinforcement.

Rhymes are powerful because they are memorable.

Make up your own rhymes. Say a word and then have your child say a word that rhymes. Continue this game until you can no longer think of rhyming words and the chain is broken. Start a new chain with a new word.

Our youngest son, knowing how much his dad loves to rhyme, recently made him a birthday card that included a silly rhyming chain. It went something like this, “Phil sits on a hill. He likes to grill. The food sits on the grill very still. Phil has very much skill at not letting the food spill.” It doesn’t end there, but I’ll spare you for the moment!

We hope this post sparks a few ideas to add more rhyme into your child’s life.

“From there to here, from here to there, funny things are everywhere!”

– Dr. Seuss, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

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