How can I help my child with rhyming?
Becoming aware of how our spoken language works and how this relates to reading is one aspect of developing as an accomplished reader. Here are some ways to help your child learn to rhyme. Remember, children must first develop an ear for rhyme before they can start producing rhyming words.
- One of the best ways for children to develop an ear for rhyme is to hear lots of stories that encourage language play through the use of rhyme. As you read rhyming books to your child, point out the words that rhyme on each page. (Dr. Seuss books are often full of rhyme! Another great title is The Hungry Thing by Jan Slepian and Ann Seidler.)
- Recite nursery rhymes together. Emphasize the rhyming words. Say the nursery rhymes again and let your child fill in the rhyming words. “Jack and Jill went up the ____.”
- Listen to children’s music. (Music by Raffi contains many great rhyming songs.)
- Play The Name Game. Think of rhymes to go with the names of family members. (Mary Berry, Brian Lion, Jennifer Hennifer, Mama Llama, etc.) Call each other by your silly rhyming names.
- Play Rhyme Time. Say three words to your child. Two of the words should rhyme. Have your child identify the two rhyming words. (cat/bat/dog; box/bag/fox; sack/pit/bit)
- Play Let’s Eat. As your family is eating dinner, say, “Find something that rhymes with silk. (milk) Find something that rhymes with licken.” (chicken) Let your child ask you to find something that rhymes with _____.
- Play Let’s Go Shopping. As you do your grocery shopping, say to your child, “Let’s buy something that rhymes with lead. (bread) Let’s buy something that rhymes with mutter. (butter) You can modify this game for a trip to the pet store or a trip to the toy store. “Let’s find an animal that rhymes with wish.” (fish)
- Play I’m Thinking. Say, “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with pat. You wear it on your head.” (hat) “I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with seen. It is a color word.” (green)
How can I help my child with letter naming?
Letter Naming Activities:
Children who are able to name and identify the letters of the alphabet have an easier time learning to read. Being able to call out letter names quickly and easily is important. Here are a few ideas for helping your child learn to recognize and name the letters in our alphabet.
- Sing the alphabet song with your child as they play with alphabet books, blocks, and magnetic letters. Help your child learn to identify the letters in alphabet books.
- As you are reading the morning newspaper, give a section of the paper to your child. Have your child take a crayon and circle letters that you call out. Say, “Draw a circle around letter ‘s’. Circle the letter ‘A’.” Start out by calling out the letters in your child’s name. If this is difficult for your child, focus on finding only one letter each day. Say, “See how many letter ‘p’s you can find.”
- Put cornmeal or sand in the bottom of a cake pan or cookie sheet. Say a letter and have your child draw the letter in the cornmeal or sand. Variations: Go outside and use sidewalk chalk or draw letters in the dirt with a stick. Or you can write letters in a small dab of pudding on a plate.
- Play I Spy with your child as you read to him each night. Say, “I spy the letter ___ on the cover of our book.” Have your child point to the letter that you named. Variation: You can also do this with road signs as you drive to the grocery store.
- Use playdough or clay to roll out long “snakes”. Have your child use the “snakes” to form letters. Variation: Use toothpicks or Legos to form letters.
- Play letter games on your computer. Call out a letter for your child to type and see how quickly he can find and type it. Ask your child to type the letters in the alphabet or the letters in his name.
- Keep a set of magnetic letters on your refrigerator. Call out letters for your child to find. Have him sort the letters by their shapes. Say, “Find the letters with curvy lines. Find the letters with straight lines. Find the letters with dots.” (i, j) Say, “Tell me the names of the pink letters. Tell me the names of the blue letters.”
How can I help my child with letter sounds?
Letter Sounds Activities:
Children need many opportunities to understand and use the building blocks of spoken language. We are helping our children learn that spoken sentences are made up of words, and words are made up of separate sounds. We are also helping them learn that these separate sounds are connected to the letters in printed words. Here are some activities that you can use to help your child connect the sounds of our language to the corresponding letters that make those sounds.
- Play I Know Susie. Say, “I know Susie, and she likes (something that begins with letter S.)” “I know Mary, and she likes (marshmallows).” “I know Tim, and he likes (turkeys).” Continue with other names. Be sure to include your own child’s name and the names of family members and friends.
- As you read to your child each night, ask your child to look at the title on the cover of his book. Say, “Point to the letter that makes the /t/ sound. Point to the letter that makes the /m/ sound.” Continue calling out sounds in random order. Variation: Have your child call out sounds of letters for you to find.
- Play Name That Sound. Say, “What sound do you hear at the beginning of heart, ham, hot, hand?” Find out what letter sounds your child is working on at school, and emphasize those sounds at home. Variation: Ask your child to name the letter that makes the sound that you call out. Once your child can identify the beginning sounds in many words, help him learn to listen for the ending sounds in words. You can play this game while riding in the car or while waiting for dinner to be served at your favorite restaurant.
- Cut a large letter m out of construction paper. Have your child look in old magazines or newspapers for pictures of things that begin with letter m. (mittens, milk, Mom, money, map, someone who is mad, mask, etc.) Have him cut out the pictures and glue them onto the large construction paper m. Post this on your refrigerator, and refer to it often. Do this with other letters, too. This can be done with both upper and lower case letters. You may want to draw pictures of things that you can’t find in magazines.
- Play Rhyme Time. Say, “I’m thinking of something that begins with the sound of letter T, and it rhymes with wreath.” (teeth) “I’m thinking of something that begins with the sound of letter M, and it rhymes with house.” (mouse) Do this with other letters, too. This is another great travel game.
- Place a few magnetic letters on the table for your child to spread out. Make the sound of one of those letters, and have your child pull out the magnetic letter that makes that particular sound. Variation: Say a word that begins with the sound of one of those letters, and have your child pull out that particular letter. You can use letter cards instead of magnetic letters, or your child can type the letter on the computer.
How can I help my child with phonics?
- Phonics is linking the sounds of language to the written letters and letter combinations children see in text. Being able to decode words phonetically according to the “rules” will help children read and spell better.
- Practice “Nonsense Words.” Use index cards or card stock to make letter cards – one letter on each card. Put the cards in three stacks (a stack of consonants on each end and vowels in the middle.) Randomly change letters to practice reading nonsense words (and sometimes a real word sneaks in, too!). This activity reinforces each letter’s individual sound and helps with blending sounds together. Help your child remember that vowel sounds in the consonant-vowel-consonant (cvc) pattern always have the short vowel sound (cat, bed, pig, dog, run).
- Play “Pick a Vowel.” Your child can use a dry erase marker and board or paper. Give your child a starting and ending consonant (or blends / digraphs for older students). The child gets to pick the vowel that goes in the middle and they get a point if they made a real word.
- Word Families. Use plastic letters, index cards, word wheels (available at abcteach.com), or Easter eggs to practice reading words that have the same ending sound. (Easter eggs? Yes, it’s easy! Write an ending (like “in”) on one half of a plastic egg near the middle. Now write letters or blends that will make words with that ending (like “b,” “f,” “p,” “w”, “sk, “tw,” “ch,” and “gr,” on the other half of the egg. Spin the egg to match up each letter with the ending and read the words (bin, fin, pin, win, skin, twin, chin, and grin.) Make a different word family for each egg.) Help your child remember that words with the same sound pattern at the end are rhyming words!
- Spell it Out! Practice spelling words that follow phonics rules with magnetic letters, a “Magna-Doodle”, magic slates, shaving cream, dry-erase boards, a sand tray, sidewalk chalk, gel bags, etc.