Wednesday, August 3, 2011

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Rhyme Games Prepare Your Children to Learn to Read

Most three-year-olds are not ready to start reading, but they often enjoy rhyming games that will help prepare them to learn to read soon.  In fact, you can vary these games for children as young as one or two! 

Children who are comfortable rhyming learn to read easier.  They recognize and predict word patterns and fragments.  They have a larger vocabulary.  Experimenting with words and sounds is more natural for them.  Rhyming also has a musical quality that seems to improve children's concentration, memory, and reading and math skills!

How do you rhyme with young children?  The possibilities are endless.  Rhyming games are particularly good for car rides!  Here's a few ideas to get you started:

  • "I Spy" Games.  "I spy, with each little eye, something (green)."  Emphasize the rhyming words (I, spy, eye) and let your child find the hiding object.  Once children understand rhymes, you can change the game to "I spy, with each little eye, something that rhymes with (hat)."  Let your child take turns spying too!
  • "Hey!  'Hat' and 'Cat' rhyme!"  Take turns finding words that rhyme.  Be sure to use silly words too!  "Hey!  'Elephant' and 'Melophant' rhyme!"
  • Rhyming lists.  "Blue, shoe, grew, who, moo, new!"  Say them, sing, them, add to each other's lists, and make up new words.  While you're tying her shoes, fill her little brain with rhyming words to think about.  When she shows you how she jumps say, "Wow!  That's a great jump!  Jump, bump, lump, dump, hump, jump!"
  • Reading.  Read books that rhyme.  Hop on Pop is a classic...and there are hundreds more to choose from!  After you've read a book a couple times, pause before reading the rhyming word and let your child fill in the missing word, or another word of their choice!  Read a wide variety of books frequently to your child.