That’s a more catchy title than “Phonemic Awareness” right?

By the age of four, most children are very proud of their newfound ability to use the English language and they chatter non-stop.

They chant, they sing, they make up silly jokes and rhymes and ask millions of questions. Most four-year olds love Dr. Seuss who is known as the “king of rhyme.” Though the educational content of a Dr. Seuss books is sometimes debated there is no doubt that he got it right when it comes to the appeal of rhymes.

Phonemic awareness, defined as the ability to manipulate discrete sounds in the English language, predicts success in reading. In plain English, this means that the ability to identify rhyming words at age four indicates the child is likely to be a successful reader.

Please note that the age at which the typical child can hear and identify rhyme is four—not three, not two or younger. This does not mean that we don’t introduce rhyming words to younger children or that there won’t be children who master this skill much earlier. But it is not considered the “norm” until age four.

Beginning in infancy, introduce infants and children to nursery rhymes, rhyming stories, songs and chants.

Play silly games with your child. For example, insert a nonsensical rhyming word into a sentence and see if your child notices. “Get into the star so we can drive to the store.”

Think of real words and nonsense words that rhyme with your child’s name.

Read Dr. Seuss books and enjoy the silliness.

Play word games with rhyme. For example,

I’m thinking of a word that rhymes with tree. It striped. It flies. It buzzes. (A bee!)


This post is adapted from my new book, Ready or Not Here Comes SchoolClick here

Photo via Creative Commons EvelynGiggles