Rhyme – not the significant skill that we once thought!

  • YES –  Rhyme is a phonological awareness skill
  • YES – Rhyme is included in early childhood curriculum.
  • YES – Children will be exposed to songs and books that incorporate rhyme.
  • YES – The exposure to such books and songs will likely focus them on the semantics (or meaning) and the sound structure of words.

BUT keep in mind that within the literature there is less evidence that rhyming instruction will support and improve literacy skills.

“Evidence shows that rhyming is not necessarily the most evidence based of pedagogical choices or the simplest phonological awareness skill to master.” (Page 7)

“Educators looking for an efficient and effective focus may be better served by teaching children phonological awareness via word, syllable, onset-rime and phonemic levels, rather than through the more traditional rhyming activities.” (Page 7)

“… evidence from some developmental and intervention samples indicates that contrary to popular belief, competence [with rhyme] matching, oddity and production tasks arrives on average at an older age than does the capability to manipulate segments of compound words, syllables and perhaps even some phoneme level skills.”  Dorr 1999, Lonigan 2007.

It is recommended that rhyming instruction is beneficial when taught in a specific onset and rime format, rather than when taught as a stand-alone task.

For further information:
Phillips, B.M., Clancy-Menchetti, J. & Lonigan, C.J. (2008) “Successful Phonological Awareness Instruction with Pre-School Children.” Topics in Early Childhood Special Education, 28(1), 3-17. This can be sourced from the PLD literature list: http://www.pld-literacy.org/References-and-Useful-Links.html

Alternatively attend one of the NEW Kindergarten or Pre-Primary Seminars: The details are listed below:

The NEW 3 year old Kindy and Kindergarten seminar investigates 3 and 4 year old pre-literacy, oral language and motor skill development. View the seminar details.

The NEW Pre-Primary (or Foundation) seminar explores 5 and 6 year old pre and early literacy as well as oral language and motor skill development. View the seminar details.