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Teaching Rhyming Activities To Preschoolers
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Parents want to give their young child the best start possible in every area of life. It is inspiring to watch a young toddler's enthusiasm for independence and discovery. This is exactly the time to take steps that can help to guarantee your child's future success in reading and spelling.

Research shows that children who enter first grade with strong a phonemic awareness move forward successfully in reading and spelling. Children with little awareness of the individual sounds in words often struggle with reading and decoding. This information is profoundly simple and yet so important for parents to know.

Phonemic awareness is the ability to hear the smallest units of sound in a word. There are many games and activities that you can play with your child to increase phonemic awareness. Rhyming is one of the first activities that expands young children's awareness of sounds in words.

A rich early exposure to rhyming books, activities and games is fun and enjoyable for children. It also awakens the young ear to sounds in words. Preschoolers who are already reading usually continue to delight in rhyming books. This enjoyable experience for parents and their children also helps train the ear to notice sounds in words. Reading starts with phonemic awareness.

There are also other ways for parents to diversify exposure to rhyming. For instance, parents can model rhyming pairs. Initially pick out 5 pairs to model. Each time you model a pair then ask your child to repeat that pair with you. Eventually you will say one of the words such as 'cat' and your child will delight telling you the match....'hat'! This is a fun family game when on a long drive.

These games teach auditory awareness. Parents can also gather objects that are rhyming pairs. Find 5 pairs of rhyming objects. Separate the two sets (A and B). Now ask your child to put the objects from one set (A) on a table.

It helps if you take the first few turns. Pick one object from set B and put it next to an object on the table. Say the two object's names as you do. 'Fan-Cat?' Shake your head dramatically and say, 'No, that doesn't rhyme.' Try another mismatched pair. Finally try 'Fan-Pan'. Usually your child will start laughing and tell you it rhymes. Soon most children will be playing this game independently. They love it when you can add more pairs of very interesting rhyming objects.

Children can move from objects to images on cards quickly. Print off some very clear images of rhyming pairs. Cut out each image and mount it on heavier paper. Now spread out one set of cards (A) on a table or rug at one end of a room. Keep the other set (B) with you and sit across the room. Ask your child to pick one card and carry it to the other side of the room to find the correct match. Lay out all the matched pairs when done. Point to each image and its match to 'tell the story' aloud. Ask your child to join you.

Eventually, as children's vocabularies expand they will be able to come up with many words that rhyme. These rhyming word groups are word families. For instance cat, hat, mat, sat, rat, fat, pat are a word family. Another example is pan, man fan ran, can, tan, van. You can begin to play games like taking turns finding as many words as possible that rhyme when your child gains mastery with many pairs. It is also fun if you and your child make up silly words...those that do not make sense but do rhyme.

There is another resource for preschool rhyming word practice. It is helpful but cannot replace the wonderful associations a child forms reading or playing learning games with their parents. Most of the online app stores offer rhyming activity apps for young children. These are supplemental. The mutual joy and pleasure that comes from working directly with your child is priceless! Children learn at an early age that learning is fun and that it means 'special time' with their parents. They also easily begin to naturally develop phonemic awareness.


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