Teaching rhyming doesn’t need to be overly complicated. Read about 5 important tips things you need to know about how to teach rhyming to kids in real, meaningful ways.
Sometimes, as teachers and parents, we adults can over-complicate things for children.
Oral language skills, like rhyming, can fall into that category too easily.
Teaching rhyming is very important, of course, but it doesn’t take ten pages of overly detailed lesson plans to accomplish this. So one of the main things you should remember about how to teach rhyming is that it doesn’t need to be complicated!
Related: Humpty Dumpty Printable Poem and Sequencing Cards
5 Key Things to Remember About How to Teach Rhyming
Keep It Short
You don’t need to spend a huge amount of time directly teaching rhyming to children.
As with all phonemic awareness activities, it’s best to only spend a few minutes a day on direct instruction. As with teaching letters, children learn rhyming best with hands-on, engaging, and meaningful activities.
That’s where the bulk of your time should be spent, rather than sitting and explaining the concept.
Have an Anchor Chart in Your “How to Teach Rhyming” Toolkit
One way to directly introduce rhyming is via an anchor chart. Basically, write out a simple definition of rhyming to share with the children/students. To me, the simplest way to phrase it for kids is to say “rhyming words sound the same at the end”.
Have the chart ready one morning and simply read it to the children. Even better, turn it into a modeled writing lesson WITH the kids.
Having the kiddos decorate the chart with pictures is another good way to get them involved in this process. Ideally, these pictures would depict rhyming words — for example, have a picture of a cat next to a bat.
This process of reading the chart and adding some rhyming pictures doesn’t need to take more than 5 minutes. Then, each day have the kids read the chart with you and say the rhyming pairs together. Again, this doesn’t need to take very long.
Incorporate a Ton of Rhyming Books into Your Day
We can’t talk about how to teach rhyming without talking about books! In my opinion, introducing rhyming to children is best done by reading rhyming books.
It exposes the kids to how rhymes sound in a meaningful, engaging manner. While reading such books to the kiddos, it’s easy to point out the rhyming words by saying, “I hear rhyming words! ‘Dog’ and ‘fog’ rhyme.”
A simple extension would be to have the children come up with more words that rhyme with words in the book. Have them put on their “rhyming ears” and listen for rhyming words as you read.
Don’t Forget the Songs and Finger Plays
Another wonderful way to introduce rhyming is through songs, poems, and finger plays. Most kids love to sing, listen to, and dance along to music.
With the youngest children, simple finger plays do the trick. They’re short, contain rhyming words, and involve the kids in the music. “Five Little Monkeys” and “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” are favorites for a reason!
As children get older (moving from toddlers to preschoolers), they still enjoy finger plays. The older children also enjoy longer songs to sing and dance to, and rhyming words are often a part of such songs.
Remember to break out the nursery rhymes and short poems, too!
Use Children’s Names
Children’s names are incredibly meaningful to kids, making names an awesome teaching resource!
Simple word plays with children’s names (and the names of those important to them) is another way of introducing rhyming concepts. Here are some ways to use names when introducing rhyming:
- Call kids by rhyming versions of their names — Silly Billy, Amusin’ Susan, Super Cooper, etc.
- Insert children’s names into songs and poems — “The itsy-bitsy MARY climbed up the water spout . . .”
- Play goofy name games that involve rhymes — “If your name rhymes with Zary, jump up and down. If your name rhymes with Bohn, turn around in a circle.”
- Sing some version of “The Name Game” with your children/students. A shorter, simpler version might be the best way to start with this. Definitely watch out for inappropriate word choices though! 😉
What are some tips you could share about how to teach rhyming to young children?
I tend to prefer finding things in the classroom or creating my own rhyming products. Or even using products created by other educators. Teachers Pay Teachers is a great resource for that!
But sometimes we all come to a time in our careers where we are in a bind for time. During those times, I find it easiest to gather some products that are ready for use. In that case, check out some of my preschool rhyming product suggestions below.
I may get commissions for purchases made through links in this post.
Like I said, I do tend to prefer finding objects, pictures, or cards around the classroom to teach rhyming to my students. but this list is full of some great things that can be used in a pinch!
Digital Rhyming Resource
Be sure to check out this AMAZING 3-in-1 rhyming resource to share with your students!
It comes as a set of Google Slides that you can use in the classroom or as part of virtual learning. Plus, it includes a printable set of the slides that can be used in your classroom centers and small groups.
More about How to Teach Rhyming
1. Why is Teaching Rhyming So Important?
2. What You Need to Know about How to Teach Rhyming
3. Rhyming books and songs
4. Rhyming activities for children
5. Even more rhyming activities for kids
Originally published April 16, 2013
Great post! My little one loves the Dr. Seuss books! We have the 6 books in one type (2 different ones) and she has me read them to her at least once a day :o)
Mary Catherine says
Awww, that is so sweet that you read them every day!! Thank you for your kind words. 🙂
Lisa Nelson says
Mary Catherine says
Thanks for stopping by, Lisa! 🙂 I’m working on the series all week-long, so I hope it turns out to be a great resource for parents and teachers!
Last year I played a silly name rhymns game with my class when it was time to line up at the door. I would say, “I’m looking for someone who’s name rhymes with…, say the child’s name was Everett. I would say, beverett. The more nonsensical the rhyme the better. They absolutely loved playing this game. As they go more familiar with it I gave the child whose name was just called to make up the next silly rhyme. They couldn’t get enough of this game! And they got really good at making up the silliest rhymes.
Mary Catherine says
YES! Kids really love it when we teachers get to be fun and silly with them. I think it makes it even more likely that they’ll be engaged with the learning. I bet those kids of yours understood the concept of rhyming by the end of the year. 🙂
I have found that the most successful method of teaching rhyme is the use of nursery rhymes. These tried and true short poems shared on a daily basis with the rhymes highlighted and explored (changing the rhyme, thinking of other words that rhyme with the ones in the poem, etc) has dramatically increased the skill level of the children in my class. It is simple and has really had amazing results.
Mary Catherine says
That is wonderful, Janet! YES, kids need a lot of exposure to nursery rhymes for so many reasons. I love hearing what’s working well with your students.