How to Teach Rhyming in Kindergarten

by Katrice Morris

Rhyming is an essential skill for kindergartners to master as they begin learning to read. This basic phonological awareness skill shows a beginning understanding of the way sounds work within words. As students learn to identify and produce rhyming words, they are distinguishing the ending sounds of words. In teaching rhyming to kindergartners, repetition is key. Keep in mind the short attention span of 5-year-olds and keep learning sessions frequent but short, playful and meaningful.

Teaching Rhyming

Nursery rhymes help teach rhyming words.

Introduce rhyming through songs, stories and poems. Read and recite nursery rhymes. Repeat them until the child knows them well. Sing songs with rhyming words such as "Down By the Bay." Read stories that include rhyming words such as "Sheep in a Jeep." Point out that these are fun because they have rhyming words, words that end with the same sounds.

Recite nursery rhymes or poems together but let the child supply the rhyming word. For example, "It's raining, it's pouring, the old man is ___?" Let the child come up with the word "snoring."

Play rhyming games by changing the rhyming words in nursery rhymes. For example, "Hickory dickory dock, the mouse ran up the sock." You can create new nursery rhymes and poems this way.

Identifying rhyming words. Say two words and ask if they rhyme. This can be incorporated into activities throughout the day. Play a matching game such as memory in which the child must match rhyming words.

Have the child come up with words that rhyme. Make a game of it by going back and forth giving rhyming words. Correct as needed.


  • Some children will catch on right away while others will need more time and practice to master the concept.

About the Author

Katrice Morris is an educator based in Georgia. She has six years of classroom teaching experience in the primary grades and certified to teach grades Pre-K through 8 in the state of Georgia. She holds an Master of Education in instructional leadership from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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