phonemic awareness · teaching thoughts

Why Can’t my Child Rhyme?

Rhyming is such an important step in phonemic awareness. What is phonemic awareness you ask? Phonemic awareness is the ability to identify and manipulate letter sounds in spoken words. It is the hearing part of reading! When children are able to hear, manipulate and isolate letter sounds, they are able to utilize this skill in decoding and encoding words for reading and writing.

So why rhyming? Rhyming is the ability to switch out the beginning sound of a word to make a new word. That it! Ok so why is it so hard for some children?

Did you know there are actually 5 stages of learning to rhyme! Say What???? You read that correctly. Your child needs to develop through five levels before they are proficient at rhyming independently.

Step 1- rhyme exposure— this is the understanding of the word rhyme. Children need to be exposed to words that rhyme and be taught the context behind the word rhyme. So when you read books, sing songs and recite nursery rhymes with your child, state things such as “hey wall and ball rhyme” “/w/- all and /b/- all rhyme because they both end in -all”

Step 2- rhyme recognition– this is being able to determine if two words rhyme. Children need to listen to two words and be able to tell you if they rhyme or not. Provide pair of words tree/key, car/bike, blue/glue, man/money etc… Have your child give a thumbs up if they rhyme and a thumbs down if they don’t. Often times children will struggle when the two words begin with the same beginning sound, point out the ends of the words are different and that is where we focus on rhymes.

Step 3- rhyme judgement– in this step you will provide your child with 3 words and have your child pick out the pair that rhymes. This works on recall as well. Stating night/moon/light your child would need to say night and light rhyme. In class I encourage children to say night and light rhyme because they both end in -ight. This shows they understand the focus on the rime of the word.

Step 4- rhyme completion– in this step your child will complete a sentence or line from a poem or song with the correct ending rhyme. Begin with using familiar song and stories and then move onto unfamiliar materials. I want to go out and play, because it is a sunny ____. DAY play and day rhyme. Check out this activity I shared called rhyme away for another fun activity on this step.

Step 5- rhyme production– this is the step of independence! this is your child producing sets of rhyming words on their own. I often go back to step 2 and have the child be the one in charge. Have your child give you sets of words and you determine if they rhyme or not. Then move on and have your child tell you a list of three words with a pair of rhymes. Finally have him/her give you rhyme completion sentences (this step is hard and not needed to master rhyming)

Yay! Your child has now mastered rhyming. Time to move onto the next skill… but do not forget to come back and practice rhyming. When you stop working and reviewing skills it makes it harder for your child to remember the skill when needed.

story

A bath- No Thanks

Today we will read the story 101 Reasons I’m Not Taking a Bath by Stacy McAnulty. This boys thinks of all the reasons why he doesn’t need to take a bath, but in the end… he takes one and enjoys it.

This is a fun book to read with your child. Can (s)he think of other crazy reasons not to take a bath?

This book format makes an excellent opportunity for a re-write. Have your child think about something else they never want to do: go to bed, brush their teeth, take out the trash, clean their room…. whatever. Now have your child think of all the excuses they could use to get out of this activity. In the end, have them do it! hahaha they never really get out of doing the things they make excuses for not doing.

phonemic awareness · story

Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm

Today let’s read the story Mrs. Wishy-Washy’s Farm by Joy Cowley. When the farm animals do not want another bath, they decide to leave the farm. They travel from the farm to the city. This is a great rhyming story.

Can you find the rhymes in the story? Practice listening for rhymes (you say two words and your child says if they rhyme or not). Creating rhymes (you say a word and your child says a word that rhymes). Do these with your child leading too… when your child is able to create their own rhyming pairs and understands the difference between words that rhyme and don’t they are mastering one of the phonemic awareness skills needed for reading development. Want to read more about rhyming? Click here, here, or here.

Mrs. Wishy-Washy loved to give her animals a good scrub. Let your child rub and scrub some of their toys today. Fill up the sink or a bucket in the backyard and let your child wash their toys. This encourages sensory play which is important for development.

Sensory play is any play the stimulates the senses. Allowing children to play with textures- hard, soft, wet, dry, sticky, smooth, bumpy etc encourage and allows for acceptance of these various textures in other aspects of life. The use of sensory play is soothing for children who are anxious or frustrated. This play also helps develop and connect brain pathways that are needed in more complex learning. Want to read more? Check out this article Why Sensory Play is Important for Development by Educational Playcare

story · topic

Little Bird Takes a Bath

Today’s story is again about a bird, but I think you will see that this story is closer to realistic fiction than yesterdays. Little Bird Takes a Bath by Marisabina Russo. In this story, little bird does not like the rain, but the rain bring puddles and puddles means a bath for little bird. Follow along as little bird tries very hard to enjoy a bath in the just right puddle.

This story is perfect for a timeline project. Having children retell stories is important. We want them to tell the story in order. What came first, then, next and finally. But, often times there are more details that they want to share. The key still is to get the details in the right order. This is where the concept of a timeline comes into play. Teaching timelines and reading timelines will be beneficial as your child gets older and needs to understand and explain many historical activities. But, at this age, we work on the timeline of yourself and of stories.

Create a timeline of the book Little Bird Takes a Bath. Notice I didn’t add big details or write in full sentences. The key is to put the main idea with a picture clue. This will help your child retell the story. We are looking for the main points, and the picture cues are to help your child recall.

Another fun timeline project is to have your child make a timeline of their day. This can be done in one sitting or done over the day.

family activity · story

Pigeon Needs a Bath

This week we will read stories about bath time! Today’s story is Pigeon Needs a Bath by Mo Willems. I really like this fun reading of the story. Joel Waggoner really shows the children how to become involved in the story. He reads the story twice, once showing him as part of the story and the second time, having your child help act out parts of the book.

Acting out stories is a fun and imaginative way to connect to the text. This can be done with a new story and helps the children focus on the story listening for the key words they need to say along, or act out. It can be done with a familiar story by having your child fill in the words and phrases as they come up in the text. Acting out stories is a great way to get up and move. It is also a great way to practice social skills such as taking turns and the ebb and flow of conversations.

Reading stories to children multiple times might seem like a chore, but it is really important in their understanding of the story. When you read stories multiple times the children are able to pick up on the words and phrases used by the author. Rereading books builds vocabulary, comprehension and a love of literature… and more! When your child begins to learn to read on their own, teachers encourage multiple readings of a book to build fluency, and to help retain facts and information about the content of the story. When children begin to read independently they are focused on the one word they are reading, and often miss the whole of the story, but when they read the same book over and over they become more fluent and start to recall the details.

So today, listen to Pigeon Needs a Bath and act along with Joel Waggoner. Then later pick out a favorite book and have your child choose the words and actions to add the story they are reading along with you.

family activity

Go for a walk

Often times families need time to be quiet together. With the pandemic, children are not going and doing as much as typical. We are spending more time in front of screens and less time in nature, not just because of the pandemic, but because of changes in our world in general.

So, go for a walk! This is an opportunity for you and your child(ren) to get moving AND a chance to chat. Each time you go out for a walk, make it a little longer to build up the endurance. Also, make it fun for them. Here are some ways to do that!

  • search for items that begin with a specific letter/sound
  • search for letters
  • search for numbers
  • count the number of birds/animals/cars etc
  • create a graph to fill in on your walk (types of vehicles, items in nature, types of flowers, colors of houses etc)
  • create a pattern to walk in– step, step, hop or hop, hop, hop, touch your toes or so many other variations
  • march
  • have races
  • set a timer and walk without talking until the timer goes off
  • walk to a set location (playground, pond, the mailbox on the corner etc)
  • walk, stop and listen
  • jump over all the cracks
  • walk backwards, sideways, or spinning

The goal is to spend time together. I encourage you as the adult to do less talking and you might be surprised to see that conversations that can occur in the quiet.

story · topic

Families Everywhere

Today we will continue to learn about families. Today’s story Families, Families Everywhere by Megan E. Mills is read by the author. This story explores what makes families. It compares and contrasts some family dynamics and celebrates these differences.

Today talk about other families you know. How are they the same and different from your own. What can you learn from that family? Do they celebrate different holidays, eat different foods, speak a different language? What is the same between your two families?

Maybe do something special for that family or with that family.

The goal is to have children see, understand and appreciate the differences. We want them to see that even when people/families are different from your own, they are still held together with love. And, when we see and appreciate these differences, we can learn and grow, together… in love.

story · topic

Families

This week, I decided we would learn about families. The concept of family is one that children understand, but they only relate it to the image of their own family. We need to help children see that all types of families exist and the glue that holds all families together is love.

First let’s read a story. Today’s story is Families by Shelly Rotner

Now have your child draw a “My Family” picture. Help your child label the members of the family they included in their picture. (make sure to use your “people crayons”). The story states that all families are different. What makes your family special? What do you like to do together? What are some of your favorite memories?