Shhhh… Don’t tell Elizabeth, but I’ve had SO. MUCH. FUN. with this week’s Wordy Wednesday that it hardly counts as work! Rhymes are such a playful part of our language that we rarely think of their educational or therapeutic value, but in fact they can provide fantastic support for reading readiness. Awareness of the relationship between letters and sounds (phoneme-grapheme correspondence for you academic types) is a crucial skill for the developing reader, and rhyming words are among the most delightfully fun ways to cultivate this concept. So this week, we bring you a collection of word families – sets of pictures that rhyme – to enjoy with your children or clients!
Many of this week’s words will likely already be familiar to most young children, but that’s no reason to skimp on receptive and expressive vocabulary practice! Present images one at a time to elicit speech from your child (expressive language), or show several images at once and ask the child to point to images as you name them (receptive language).
Work on phonemic awareness with several fun games. Print out the cards (either with words or without), and cut them apart.
- Time to Rhyme: Lay out several cards (depending on your child’s attention and skill level), and ask the child to put rhyming words together.
- Oddball: (also known as One of These Things is Not Like the Others to old-school Sesame Street aficionados): Lay down three cards that belong to the same rhyme family (pail, whale, snail) and one that does not (coat). Ask your child to find the oddball, the one that doesn’t rhyme with the others.
- Rhyme Memory: Place an array of cards face down, making sure you have an even number of words from each rhyme family. Then, just like in regular Memory, take turns flipping over two cards at a time trying to find matches. When you flip over two that rhyme, you’ve got a match! Player with the most matches wins!
Dearest creature in creation,
Study English pronunciation.
I will teach you in my verse
Sounds like corpse, corps, horse, and worse.
I will keep you, Suzy, busy,
Make your head with heat grow dizzy.
Tear in eye, your dress will tear.
So shall I! Oh hear my prayer…
As demonstrated in the snippet of poem above, English is a contrary language that does not offer a simple one-to-one correspondence between letter and sound. (The vast majority of the world’s languages do, in fact, have such a straightforward mapping.) Despite differences in spelling, Suzy rhymes with busy and dizzy, while horse and worse do not rhyme in spite of their similar spelling. [click on the text above to view the whole poem — it is one of my very favorites!] Because of this cacophony of confusion that is the English language, rhymes are perhaps especially important in our language to help develop phonemic awareness and reading skills.
Use this week’s words to work on spelling (and get in some bonus fine-motor activity by having your child write the words). Show one image, such as nail, then have the child write as many rhyming words as he can think up! You can use the rest of the pictures in the -ail family (whale, snail, pail) as cues, and encourage him to think of as many others as possible, keeping in mind that some might be spelled differently!
Have fun with our Wordy Wednesday this week, and be sure to let us know how you use them! May your week be filled with words! ~ Melanie and Elizabeth