Phonological Awareness - Rhyme

Phonological Awareness - Rhyme

IEP Targets for Rhyme Work

  • To follow rhyming pattern in silly speech/scribble talk
  • To follow a simple rhyming sound pattern in a small group
  • To follow a simple rhyming pattern using real words
  • To give a word to rhyme with a target word
  • To make a rhyme string from a given target word
  • To add the rhyming word to a nursery rhyme
  • To match objects with rhyming names and give the two names (lotto, rhyme, snap)
  • To group objects with rhyming names (3 or more objects) and give the names of each
  • To match rhyming pictures and give their names
  • To group rhyming pictures and give their names

Activities for Phonological Awareness Rhyme

Children are able to play with rhyme from an early age without understanding the concept. It may therefore be useful to allow lots of sound play activities without actually using the term rhyme. Begin to use the term ‘rhyme’ when the child can produce the rhymes easily in their speaking.

1. Scribble talk

Playing with sound to make silly speech, e.g. mibble, tibble, fibble, wibble.

2. Rhyming pattern play

In a small group adult to produce simple rhyming sound pattern, ba, da, and children then continue round in a circle adding to string, e.g. ba, da, fa, la, sa, ta.

3. Rhyming word play

This can then be moved on to the next stage using simple rhyming words, e.g. cat, hat, bat, fat, dat, mat.
At this stage non-words have the same value in the activity as real words as we are focusing on the sound pattern.

Children are able to play with rhyme from an early age without understanding the concept.
At this stage also we are not talking about this as a rhyming activity simply a sound play game. We can introduce the name of the rhyme as children’s skills improve at this level.

4. Finish the rhyme

Adult to give a sentence where the final word rhymes with a word in the sentence, e.g. the man in the house was scared of the 

5. Making a rhyming string for a given target word

Adult to give a word, e.g. coat and the child to then produce further rhyming words – boat, goat. A cuing strategy here would be to give some information e.g. I can think of something that sails on the water that rhymes with coat and it starts with a ‘b’.

Encourage TAs/LSAs to sing in the playground using rhyme to give children additional opportunities to practice.
Encourage the child to finish rhymes, e.g. Jack and Jill went up the _ _ _ _

6. Finding items that rhyme

A rhyming basket could be used in many different ways. Collect together items that rhyme e.g. dog/frog, book/hook, star/car, fish/dish, sock/clock. (The fewer items the easier the activity).

  • Five items on the table, child to find an object in the basket that rhymes with one of the table objects.
  • Put one object from each pair in the basket, child takes an object from basket, e.g. frog and then thinks of another word that rhymes.

To move it on the child should give two words e.g. dog/ frog, log.

During rhyming activities nonsense words are equally valuable e.g. sock, clock, bock. Be aware a child may have preferred initial sound. This is not a problem but the child should be encouraged to use a wider range of initial sounds.

These activities are designed to help children develop their awareness of the way auditory patterns in words can rhyme. It is therefore essential that all the resources are spoken or pictures because children will use the visual patterns of letters in written words to succeed. Have a look at your rhyming resources; can you adapt these so that they do not include the written form of the word?

7. Rhyme lotto

Make some simple rhyming lotto boards, using pictures only


Start with only four simple pictures and build up. A cuing strategy to use might be describing the picture they need to find e.g. child picks up picture of a bell, rhyming picture on board might be shell, adult could say ‘this is something you find at the sea-side’.

Another strategy might be if the child picks up the picture of the bell, the adult says ‘Listen, I am going to say two words, then choose two of the words from the board, one of which should be the one the child needs’.

As the child progresses they should reach a point where they can do the activities without the adult having to say any of the words for them, i.e. working from their own memory of the sound patterns.


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Last updated: 5 November 2015

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