Rhyming is a phonological awareness skill that is the first taught through nursery rhymes and songs. Children can hear the rhyme, rhythm, and repetition in those preschool songs, and unknowingly they start understanding how rhyming words work. Once they get to Kindergarten, they should have some kind of understanding of rhyming words, but will still need more practice. If they were not exposed to nursery rhymes and songs, this key piece of reading is missing. When students lack these phonological awareness skills, they have a harder time with phonemic awareness, and they end up struggling with reading fluency. Today, I am sharing some of my favorite rhyming activities for Kindergarten.
Skill #1: Identifying Rhyming Pairs
The first skill included in rhyming is identifying a rhyming pair. Students should be able to hear two words and tell if they rhyme or not. For example, if you said, “Does nap and cap rhyme?” they would say “yes”. Or if you said, “Does not and net rhyme?” they should say “no”.
Here are three of my favorite activities to practice identifying rhyming pairs:
Whole Group: Rhyming Pairs Sort
Using a pocket chart, board, or table, display the “YES” and “NO” cards. Students will pick a card, look at the two pictures, and decide if the words rhyme or do not. To engage your whole class, have all the students give a thumbs up (if it rhymes) or a thumbs down (if it does not rhyme), then have the student sort it. This could also be used as a center activity.
Center Activity: Rhyming Clip Cards
Students will pick up a card and say the name of the big picture. Then, they will look at the three other pictures and with a clothespin, clip the correct rhyming pair.
Independent Work: Cut and Paste Picture Sort
Have your students cut out the pictures and glue them underneath the matching rhyming word. To challenge your students, have them write the word underneath or next to each picture.
Skill #2: Produce a Rhyming Word
This second rhyming skill is harder than the first. To produce a rhyming word, students are given a word, and have to say another word that rhymes. For example, if you said “Tell me a word that rhymes with dog”, they should be able to come up with “log” or “jog”.
Here are three of my favorite activities to practice producing a rhyming word:
Whole Group: Hot Potato Rhyming Game
Have your students sit in a circle and place these picture cards in a basket, face down. Play some music and have them start passing the basket around. Once the music stops, whoever has the basket takes a card out and names the picture, then says another rhyming word.
Center Activity: Rocket Rhyming Game
Place all cards face down in a pile. Taking turns, each student picks up a card. They look at the picture, say the word, and then have to say another word that rhymes. If they can think of a word, then they keep the card. If they pull a “rocket” they have to put all of their cards back.
Independent Work: Color, Paste, Draw
Students will cut out the pictures and glue them next to the matching rhyming word. Then, they will need to draw a picture of another word that rhymes.
Skill #3: Word Families
After children are able to rhyme, the next step is to focus on word families. A word family is the ending of a word, like -at or -in. This skill helps them build their reading fluency, because they are recognizing the word family to sound out the word.
Here are three of my favorite activities to practice word families:
Whole Group: Tree Map Anchor Chart
To really focus on word families by short vowel sound, create a tree map anchor chart for each vowel. Do one or two word families a day, having students think of words that can be added underneath.
Center Activity: Word Family Memory Match
Using a pocket chart or table, place all cards face down. Students will pick up two cards- if it is a word family and it's matching picture, students get to keep the pair! If not, they have to put it back. To challenge students, have them say an additional rhyming word.
Independent Work: Word Family Book
Have students think of 4-6 words that belong to each word family and write them down. Then, they can draw a picture or one or more of those words. These would be very handy to refer back to.
Looking for some books to help your students with rhyming? You can check out my favorites here:
Rhyming Book List for Kindergarten
If you are looking for more ideas on how to teach rhyming, you can find all the ideas above plus more included in the SFK Phonics Curriculum Rhyming or Short Vowel Word Family Unit. Just click on a link below to see more.
Try a FREE sample activity from the Rhyming Unit here!
Browse ALL Rhyming Resources here
I hope you found this post helpful as you plan rhyming activities for your Kindergarten students!