Recent research into the development and acquisition of early literacy skills has come to the conclusion that rhyming plays an important role in a child’s emergent development. It will be very difficult for children to learn phonics and sight words if they can not distinguish sounds and rhyming patterns.
But before exploring the role of rhyming in early literacy, we should first take a brief look at the definition of rhyming.
According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, rhyming is correspondence in terminal sounds of units of composition or utterance (such as two or more words or lines of verse). Or we can simply understand that rhyming words, syllables, or lines have or end with an identical.
Rhyming is an important part of phonological awareness skills, which has a strong correlation with reading ability. Working on rhyming skills is usually part of most programs of reading instruction for that reason.
Now let’s explore 5 roles of rhyming in early literacy
Rhyming improves cognitive development
For young children, repetition of rhymes forms memory skills and a sharp recall. Most rhyming verses are made up of a pattern with a beginning, a middle, and an ending. From this simple structure, children can easily learn about sequential order and understand cause and effect.
Not only young children can benefit from rhyming but also fetuses. By monitoring the fetuses’ heart rate, researchers at the University of Florida discovered that the fetuses could recognize the rhyme, after 6 weeks of hearing a nursery rhyme from their mom. This research indicates the power of rhyme to foster memory and reasoning.
Rhyming Develops Literacy
Researchers first discovered the correlation between rhyming and reading in the 1980s. Since then, numerous studies have shown rhymers turn out to be better readers. Nursery rhyme books are commonly a child’s first experience with literacy, exposing them to phonetics and word constituents.
A comparison made on literacy capacities of school-aged children has pointed out that those exposed to rhyme at an early age have better literacy skills than those who were not.
For example, A child reciting the phrase ” How is the cow looking now” understands that “ow” is the word segment or common denominator.
Being aware of components in words in this way helps children improve their phonemic awareness skills. And those who are good at this skill will easily be successful in reading.
Rhyming Promotes Language Development
Promoting children’s language development is an important role of rhyming in early literacy.
Children’s early literacy skills are about listening and speaking rather than reading and writing. These first two skills are the bedrock foundation for the latter, and create much stronger ability in the latter if ingrained deeply and early on.
While hearing the sounds of vowels and consonants as they listen to and remember the rhymes. Speaking rhyming verses will teach the child how to form these sounds to make words.
They will also show the proper inflection, pitch, rhythm, and cadence needed to communicate effectively.
Rhyming is a great way to reinforce the foundational skills of literacy. And reciting nursery rhymes is an excellent bonding activity, whether for a group of children or for parents and children. It encourages self-expression and builds strong confidence because rhymes are so easy to learn. The more a child masters nursery rhymes the more they will confidently present it.
More than that, learning humorous and emotional nursery rhymes helps children develop the capability of connecting to society and their own emotions.
Rhyming enhances reading skills
Rhyming plays an important role in reading and spelling. Because as children listen to and say rhyming verses, they begin to hear sounds within the words and recognize if those sounds are the same. It can also help children appreciate that words that share common sounds often share common letter sequences.
For instance, if your child can spell cat, he can also spell bat, rat, and mat. This also applies to reading, if your child can read “call,” he can read, ball, tall, and mall.
There are still many more roles of rhyming in early literacy such as auditory discrimination, improved phonemic awareness, and expanded vocabulary. And these skills are essential for children’s literacy development.
If you want to help your child to improve his early literacy, then the suggestion here is to learn rhyming with him. By making time to speak in verse, tell nursery rhymes, stories,…you are reinforcing the skills he will need to be competent in the modern world.