The Importance of Teaching Rhyme

Before children learn to read, they must first have an understanding of how sounds work within words.  Learning to recognize and produce rhyme  is one of the very first phonological skills that children acquire on their way to becoming proficient readers.  Working with rhyme is an important component of the early childhood curriculum.  Research tells us that most children learn to recognize rhyme by 5 (which words rhyme:  cat, bug, rat) and can provide a rhyming word by 5 1/2.  When children appreciate rhyme and are able to provide rhyming words, they show that they understand that words are made up of individual speech sounds which can be changed to create different words.  That understanding is the basis of reading.  Here’s a graphic explaining the difference between phonological awareness, phonemic awareness and phonics.  For more information, you may wish to visit the Phonological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness and Phonics blog post.


Click the following link to download this handout Phonological-Awareness

There is a developmental sequence for the acquisition of phonological awareness skills.  This handout outlines the steps- it’s a helpful reference for our preschool and kindergarten teachers.


Click the following link to download this handout Developmental Stages of Phonemic Awareness

Teaching students to recognize and produce rhyme is a whole lot of fun.  Using books with rhyme is a great way to introduce this concept.  When you read rhyming books, children are exposed to the rhythm of language.  Using books in this manner also improves oral language development.  Here are a few of my favorite books:


My children are all now in college so digging these books from the depths of the old bookshelves has certainly brought back memories!  I loved reading these books to my own children and just couldn’t bear to part with them.  My all time favorite rhyming book is Jamberry by Bruce Degen.  I can tell that our book was very much loved as the spine is nearly falling apart.  Of course, you can count on Dr. Seuss for all things rhyme.  Green Eggs and Ham and Fox in Socks were two of our favorites.  Although not in my own bookshelf, Is Your Mama a Llama and Sheep in a Jeep were two books that I often used when I was teaching preschool.

Matching games are also ideal for teaching students to recognize and produce rhyme.  I always like to incorporate a holiday or seasonal theme into the activity.  Here’s an example of the mitten match game that we use during the cold months of winter:


The candy corn game is certainly a favorite!  Students beg for this activity way past Halloween!


These activities are just two of seven contained in the Big Bundle of Rhyme Activities.


The Big Bundle of Rhyme Activities is available through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store or within the Make, Take & Teach website.


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Rhyming Ice Cream Cones


These rhyming ice cream cones have certainly been a hit with our little preschoolers and kindergarteners!  The activity is easily differentiated as you can choose how many rhyming cones and scoops to use.  For those kiddos just learning the concept of rhyme, you’ll likely want to start with just 2 cones and gradually add more cones as they become proficient with the skill.  For those students who just need added practice, you can use more cones and just place them in an independent work center.  When you download this activity, you’ll receive 18 rhyming cones with 60 rhyming scoops!


The Build An Ice Cream Cone activity is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.


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Rhyming Caterpillars

16 Rhyming Caterpillarsblogpic

I have such fond memories of reading The Hungry Caterpillar to my own children and to my preschool students.  It was one of my very favorite books.   I use to have a puppet which started as a caterpillar and then flipped inside out to turn into a butterfly.  Now that my preschool-teaching days are long past gone and my own kiddos are now in college, I just couldn’t part ways with that caterpillar and he sits proudly on the shelf above my desk.    Since many of my teacher friends are putting away their St. Patrick’s Day-themed activities and are bringing out their spring activities for small group instruction and centers, I thought creating a few spring-themed activities would be fun.  Here are a few caterpillar-themed activities that I hope you may enjoy.

The Rhyming Caterpillar activity contains 16 colorful leaves with corresponding rhyming caterpillars.  Each rhyming leaf has between 4-5 caterpillars holding pictures.  Now you can certainly just print the activity and cut the leaves and caterpillars along the dotted line and have a ready-made activity, but you may wish to glue those caterpillars on clothespins to add a little fine motor practice as well.


The Make, Take & Teach Rhyming Caterpillar activity is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

Since I was in the caterpillar-making activity roll, I updated the Creepy-Crawly Caterpillar activities for beginning sounds and word families.

Caterpillar BSpg1gif

The Creepy-Crawly Caterpillar for Beginning Sounds is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.

The word family activity contains 15 word families!  These activities are ideal for your independent literacy centers.

Caterpillar WFpg1gif

The Creepy-Crawly Caterpillar for Word Families is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.


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Rhyming Cupcakes Freebie!


Oh My Goodness!  I walked into my local Walmart last night and there they were!  Two years ago I created rhyming stickers to go along with these little plastic cupcakes I found in the holiday section at Walmart.  Last year around Easter, they were nowhere to be found so I was super excited that Walmart decided to put them back on the shelf.


Creating the activity is quite simple.  Just print the pdf file on a full size Avery label, cut the stickers along the dotted line and adhere them to the bottom of each cupcake.   The game is played just like a typical memory game as you place the cupcakes on the table in rows and players take turns turning over 2 cupcakes trying to find a match.   If you’d like your own cupcake rhyme memory game just hop on down to Walmart to pick up your cupcakes and print the following pdf:


Just click the following link to download this free printable Cupcake Rhyme Memory Game

Now the plastic cupcakes are hands-down the best way to assemble this activity.  If you cannot find the cupcakes in your local Walmart and still what to have the memory game, feel free to download the free memory cards.  You can adhere the stickers on the back of these cards.  Just click the following link to download the cards:  Cupcake Rhyming Cards

Enjoy your activity!  It’s a hands-down favorite!





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Super Fun Activities for Valentine’s Day!


Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and it’s time to change it up the literacy centers and small group activities.  Here are a few fun little activities for rhyme and learning letters and sounds.


When you download the Valentine Hearts activity, you’ll receive 48 colorful hearts with pictures that rhyme.  Your students will have tons of fun finding the matching rhyming heart halves.


The Make, Take & Teach Valentine Heart Matching activity can be found in my online Teachers Pay Teachers store or on the Make, Take & Teach website.


Here’s a fun activity for learning letters and sounds.  Students just match the letter to the beginning sound of the word.

ValentineBSpg1gifThe Valentine Match Beginning Sounds activity can be found in my Teachers Pay Teachers store or on the Make, Take & Teach website.

Have a fun Valentine’s Day!


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Mitten Match Activities for Rhyme, Beginning Sounds and Vocabulary


Here in Northern Michigan winter can last for months (and I mean months and months).  We often have snow from late November through mid-April.  Although I love winter, I’m more than ready for the warmer weather by the end of March.  Well, up in the north, putting on your boots, mittens, hats, coats, and snow pants is an everyday event.  It can take up to 10 minutes to get our little kindergarteners ready to go outside–and then another 10 minutes to get undressed!  Multiply that routine  by at three times a day–craziness!  Whether you live in a winter wonderland or in warmer parts of the world, the Mitten Match activity is sure to be a hit with your kiddos during the winter months.

Last year, my fabulous artist created these adorable mittens.  They were perfect for creating a matching activity, so I made activities for beginning sounds, rhyme and vocabulary.  They are especially ideal for your literacy centers.  Students simply find the matching mitten pairs and clip them together with a clothespin.  If you choose to store your activities in baggies, I’ve included a label for you.  I print my activity labels on a full size Avery label.


I am so envious those arts and crafts people who come up with these fabulous ideas for decorating clipboards, pencil cans and any other item with washi tape.  I’ve purchased several spools of washi tape a few weeks ago and it’s been just sitting in my drawer waiting for the perfect project.  Okay, so this is certainly not the most creative use of the washi tape, I know, but the dots of the tape nearly match the dots of the mittens.  LOVE IT!  I simply cut a strip of tape and placed it right on the clothespin.


When you download the Mitten Match Beginning Sounds activity, you’ll receive 26 beginning sound mittens.  This activity is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.


There are 30 colorful rhyming mitten pairs in the MT&T Mitten Match Rhyme activity.  This activity is ideal for preschool and kindergarten centers.  This activity is also available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my online Teachers Pay Teachers store.


The Mitten Match Vocabulary activity contains 35 matching mitten pairs.  This activity is ideal for vocabulary development as the students pair pictures that “go together”.  You may want to use this activity during small group instruction as you can expand oral language by having your students explain why the pictures go together.


The Mitten Match Vocabulary activity is available through the Make, Take & Teach website or through my Teachers Pay Teachers store.


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