Sunday, 12 June 2016

Rhyming Activities for Little Learners!

Phonemic awareness (listening to, isolating and changing sounds in words) is vital for both reading and writing development in little learners - and rhyme is a BIG part of this learning process.  It's sometimes a concept that kidlets find tricky to grasp - so I thought I'd stop by and share some activities that I've used successfully with my classes over the years, as well as a few new ideas that I'd love to try. :)

From the very first week of school I like to expose kidlets to rhyming words through our poem of the week.  We read it together every morning and talk about the vocabulary used - this is a really great way for little learners to start thinking about words, how they sound and what they mean.  As the year goes on you can spend time identifying letters and sounds, nouns/verbs/adjectives and rhyming words! I usually have a poster sized copy of the poem on the board and we circle and underline words as we identify rhyming pairs.  At the end of the week kidlets glue a copy into their books (I have a dedicated poetry journal) and because we've read it so often together most children can independently read it.  Here's a resource you might like to use - or you could choose any simple poems and rhymes that fit with your classroom themes!

Another oral language activity that my kidlets always LOVE is a simple one.  I have an IKEA igloo that I set up on the carpet area.  Before we start I've collected a box of random objects from around the classroom.  I ask the class to close their eyes while I hide one in the igloo and then say "What's inside the igloo? What could be in it for me? It starts with ___ and rhymes with ___. Oh what do you think it could be?" For example, if I've hidden a book in the igloo I would say "It starts with /b/ and rhymes with look."  Someone guesses the object and then gets to check inside the igloo to see if they were right! We play this game LOTS before we move on to reading and writing rhyming words.  If you don't have an igloo you can use whatever you have - e.g. "What's inside the big, blue bag?"

Of course, our Alphabet Monster helps us during this stage of learning too!  I use the flashcards that come with our phonics program but you could use any that you have.  I lay them out on the carpet and ask kidlets to feed the monster.  I might say a word and have them find the card that rhymes, I might ask them to choose 2 cards that rhyme, or perhaps I'll lay out 3 cards and ask them to feed the monster the one that doesn't rhyme.  During these activities the whole class joins in by saying each word and segmenting the sounds.

 I love to use hands-on activities, particularly in literacy centres.  Top of my list of new ones to try is this one that uses Duplo blocks. If you click on the image to the pin you can check out This Reading Mama and download the pictures used here - or you could use ones you already have!

At least one of my literacy centres is always a game - and I love to use Bingo! when teaching rhyme.  The caller says a word and the rest of the group covers a picture on their board if it rhymes with the word called.  Click on the picture below to check out a resource I created to allow for some differentiation with my kidlets - it includes boards with pictures only, pictures + words, or words only with calling cards to match. :)

As soon as we move into reading and spelling rhyming words I include the teaching of word families.  There's a tonne of great resources you can use for this concept but I love Marsha's Word Families Galore pack! It takes time to print and laminate everything but once you're done you're set for years! My favourite thing is the word wall I made using her cards - I hot glued them to coloured ribbon and it makes a gorgeous bulletin board full of rhyming words for the kidlets to reference as they work!

I also love this hands-on task that is essentially matching rhyming words just like the Duplo idea - except this one includes words for the kidlets to read when they are ready. Click on the image to see more!

Of course any rhyming fun must include lots of reading stories written by our favourite doctor! Dr. Seuss books are perfect for listening to and identifying rhyming words.  After reading 'The Cat in the Hat' I love to have my kidlets invent their own character using the same rhyming pattern.  This is a great way to see which children understand what rhyming means, who can choose 2 words that rhyme, and also who understands the spelling patterns involved. 

And who can resist this gorgeous craft that makes an awesome classroom display? ;)

Hopefully I've shared an idea or two that you might be able to use in your own classroom! I'd love to hear any awesome ideas you have that work on teaching rhyme. :)

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