The answer is definitely to rhyme! What is a plate for tuna? Name a small, stinging insect. Hint–The answer involves two rhyming words. Give up? A fish dish and A wee bee. Kids today need to focus more on having fun with rhymes to improve their reading and spelling skills.
Rhyming helps children learn about word families such as let, met, pet, wet, and get. Rhyming lends itself to better phonemic awareness; the ability to break words into smaller parts and recognize smaller parts in words. Being able to break words into smaller parts and recognize smaller parts in words is an important skill that is crucial for reading and spelling. This awareness leads to better reading and writing success. Rhyme also teaches children who are learning to read about the patterns and structures in both spoken and written words. Songs and rhymes expose children to the rhythm of language which helps them read with some animation in their voice instead of just a monotone voice. How many times have you seen children sitting happily listening to someone reading in a monotone voice? NEVER! However, when they listen to someone who reads with inflection and animation, they sit glued to the reader. Rhyme and rhythm are very important skills that help a reader learn to use inflection an animation when reading aloud. Rhyme also prepares children to make predictions while learning words and gives them crucial decoding skills. Research is showing that learning how to manipulate words through rhyming and rhyming word games is an important, if not crucial, reading skill. Students who struggle with reading often have a difficult time breaking words down into their individual sounds, and even in hearing each of these sounds, i.e. phonemic awareness skills.
One easy way to incorporate rhyming words into your everyday life is via online rhyming games. Hink Pinks or Higgy Piggy word games are excellent. Rhyme is important to reading and spelling because it can help children appreciate that words that share common sounds often share common letter sequences. So if you can spell cat, you can also spell bat, rat and mat. This also applies to reading, if you can read “call,” you can read, ball, tall and mall.
Online spelling sites are useful for practicing weekly word lists. You can add rhyming words to your spelling list at sites that allow you to program your own words. Carry it one step further by printing off handwriting sheets for practicing those same rhyming words. This will involve using at least three senses–seeing, hearing, and touching (writing), which will help your child cement those words in their brain. Read lots of nursery rhymes with your child. Have older children recite nursery rhymes and make up rhymes of their own. See who can make up the silliest rhyming nonsense words. Rhyme in the car with objects you see along your path–car-jar, sign-line, red-said, truck-yuck… Learning is fun you know!