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Rhyming is a necessary building block for developing your children’s ability to use and manipulate words. Not to mention how fun and silly it can be for them. The typical age that a clinician expects children to rhyme is at 3-years-old. At this age, your child should be able to produce non-sense words that could rhyme with “cat” (e.g., dat).  Ideally, you want to encourage real words to rhyme with however, at 3 years of age it is important for them to understand how words can sound similar and yet different at the same time.

Why is this important?

It is imperative to be cognizant of how well they rhyme because it can act as an indicator for 1) your child’s hearing ability and 2) your child’s sensitivity to the sound structures in speech. For a little more about the hearing component read here. Regarding their sensitivity to speech, rhyming is the gate way to further a child’s understanding about words and the impact a single sound can make on a word. Once a child demonstrates sensitivity to rhyming, they are much closer to be a well-suited student in learning how to read.

Things to do

  • You can watch/learn rhyming songs like these here and here. I know the videos are a little cheesy however that is high quality for kids!
  • While you are cooking you can make fun rhymes about the food your making or the utensils you are using
  • Create a rhyme book from this free resource from Florida Center for Reading Research

If you have further interest behind the science see the book references and research below:

Bradley, L., & Bryant, P. (1985). Rhyme and reason in reading and spelling. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

Bryant, P., MacLean, M., & Bradley, L. (1990). Rhyme, language, and children’s reading. Applied Psycholinguistics, 11, 237-252.

Moats, L. & Tolman, C. (2008). The Development of Phonological Skills.

Snow, C., Burns, M., & Griffin, P. (Eds.). (1998). Preventing reading difficulties in young children. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.