It’s Rhyme Time!!!

Working with beginning or struggling readers can often be a challenge especially for a new teacher.  You sit there wondering where to start.  I like to begin with basic phonemic awareness.  Yes it is important that they identify their letters and sounds but trust me they will get that.  So when I begin working with beginning or struggling readers I start by assessing their phonemic awareness skills:

  • can they understand rhyming words?
  • can they segment words into syllables or hear the syllables in words?
  • can they identify initial sounds of words and then ending and middle sounds?

From this assessment I decide what my students need and most of them turn out to struggle with rhyming.  That is where most of my groups start in September.  So now we have identified what to teach and have to move onto HOW to teach it.

HOW do you teach a student to rhyme?

It’s really not a simple task.  After doing my own research and trial and error I have found the best method is having them work on hearing sounds.  We take a step back from actual rhyming words and begin with just words.

For example I might say, “dog, dog” “Did I say the same word or a different word?” It amazes me every time when they struggle with this.  They struggle hearing sounds and it is actually a skill that needs to be developed!  This process can be turned into a game, which is what I recommend.  I don’t believe you should just sit and drill so games are the way to go.

Football Rhyme Intervention Game HERE!

This game is teacher directed.  I use it with my small groups.  I pick up a card and say the pictures on the card, “bunny, frog” “did I say the same word or a different word?”  The student then answers and if correct moves the amount of spaces on the card.  We go around and play until a player has reached the goal posts.  My students love this game because well they love playing games and they are working on a skill they need while having fun.

After they can successfully play this game with minimal errors I move on.  I don’t go to rhyming words just yet.  My next step is to just say sounds.  I use the same game board but have different cards, which also works great when your differentiating because all your students can play the same game!  I might say “/k/ /l/” “did I say the same sound or a different sound.  Now they are hearing specific sounds.

From there I move back to actual rhyming but very basic.  A resource I LOVE using here is nursery rhymes.  Many of them are familiar with them and they are short! 

Rain, Rain, Go Away Activities CLICK HERE!!!

Here we used Rain, Rain, Go Away.  I like to start with this one in particular because all the end words rhyme.  I used our poster machine to make this larger and then we used wikki stix to circle and identify our rhyming words.  I also like to start here because all the words in this case end in -ay.  I tell my students looking for word endings can help you identify rhyming pairs though it doesn’t always work! (eye, pie)

After I show them the nursery rhyme we do an activity like this together.  It’s a worksheet but it’s also more than just grab a pencil and do it.  We do all of this together in small groups and use bingo dabbers to identify the answer. (Check out my Interactive Worksheets post to learn more great tips!)

Rhyme Intervention Center Activities HERE!

I finally like to give them activities to do independently.  I give each student in my group 3-4 cards and they have to use a clip to identify the rhyming pairs.  I am able to assess really quick and can easily use this for progress monitoring the rhyming skill.

I like to teach the “I do, WE do, YOU do” method and find my students being successful.  I also like to use games whenever I can so I do bring back the board games I used in the beginning except this time apply them to rhyming words!

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star Activity Pack HERE


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Beach Bum Literacy Chick

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