Monday, June 18, 2007

How do you teach rhythm and rhyme?

The sounds of language are the building blocks of literacy. Whenever possible, introduce your child to simple word games that draw upon their knowledge of sounds and reinforce their ability to manipulate oral language. Here are a few suggestions on how to do so.

You can teach your child about rhyme in a number of ways. One of the easiest is to use existing text that encourages the use of rhyme, such as many Dr. Seuss books, “Hop on Pop” and “There’s a Wocket in My Pocket” are good examples of fun with rhyme.

Teach your child rhymes, short poems, and songs. Look for songs and poems that, because of their easy rhyme and repetition, can be used to teach phonemic awareness.

Sing songs and read rhyming books. Sing the alphabet with your child, and teach your child songs that emphasize rhyme and alliteration, such as “Willaby Wallaby Woo”, “Miss Mary Mack” and “Down By the Sea.” (all available in Songs and Rhymes)

And there are many other ways to bring both rhythm and rhyme into your child’s life. Here are some suggestions:

Tip #1

For very beginning rhyming lessons, a simple method is to ask your child what rhymes with “bee” and then touch their “knee”. If they don’t make the connection ask them what body part you are touching, then ask what rhymes with “bee” again. Then try “bear” and “hair” and “jelly” and “belly” etc.

Tip #2

After she gets the hang of it then simply choose one-syllable words that are easy to rhyme with such as had, rat, man, fall, ten, red, big, fill, hop, dog, bug and sun. All of these have multiple words that rhyme.

Tip #3

For preschoolers, sing or say Mother Goose favorites. Once your child is familiar with the nursery rhyme, let your child fill in the missing word as you pause at the end of the rhyme. Say something like:

Mary had a little _____
Who fetched a pail of ____

Tip #4

Try to rhyme things with the child’s name or match up alliteration with the first letter of their name.

Tip #5

Hold contests to see how many rhymes they can find for words such as clock, snow, lamb, or go.

Tip #6

Create new words together by changing the first sound or consonant. For example, say something like:

“My word is tall. What is my word?” (tall)
Then: “Change the /t/ to /b/. What do you have?” (ball)
“Good, my word is ball.”

When doing such games, try to use familiar consonant-vowel-consonant words such as cat, dog, fit, mix, or fox.

Tip #7

Some other fun you can have with rhyme and alliteration is to make up new verses of familiar songs or rhymes by changing the beginning sounds of words. Such as replacing “Humpty Dumpty” with “Lumpty Gumpty.” This is very silly and kids love to be silly. You are the only one that has to know they are learning too!

Tip #8

As they gain experience then you can play with sounds and words by altering familiar nursery rhymes. For example, here’s a standard nursery rhyme:

I never saw a purple cow
I never hope to see one,
But I can tell you anyhow
I’d rather see than be one.

Just change the color or the rhyme and have fun!

You and your child can change the rhyme so it becomes I never saw a yellow horse or a greenish dog. Encourage your child to use an adjective - a color, shape, or size - followed by a type of animal, the sillier the better.

Tip #9

Reverse or substitute words in familiar songs and poems. Some examples include:

* Song a sing of sixpence (Reverse words)
* Baa baa purple sheep (Substitute words)
* Twinkle, twinkle little car (Substitute words)
* Humpty Dumpty wall on a sat (Swap word order)
* Jack fell down and crown his broke (Swap word order)
* One, two shuckle my boo (Swap word parts)
* I’m a tittle leapot (Swap word parts)
* The eensy weensy spider went up the spouter wat. (Swap word parts)
* One, two, buckle my shoe Five, six, pick up sticks (Switch order of events)
* Little Miss Muffet, eating a tuffet Sat on her curds and whey (Switch order of events)
* Goldilocks went inside and knocked on the door. (Switch order of events)
* The first little piggy built himself a house of bricks. (Switch order of events)

And don’t forget to sing and rhyme with your little one!

Find out more about Activity Preschool Songs and Lesson Plan Preschool Songs plus Learning To Read Book

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