Teaching rhyming and word families are simple ways to include phonemic awareness and phonics activities. Recognizing and producing rhymes is one aspect of phonemic awareness. This is a skill that emergent readers experience through games, listening to stories and nursery rhymes. For older ELLs, rhyming often does not come as naturally. Rhyming ability is one predictor of reading success. It is not necessary to spend a large amount of time on rhyming activities. Short exposure is just as beneficial as extended practice.
Teaching word families moves rhyming into the world of phonics. Focusing on one or a few word families at a time will help emergent readers feel successful as they read new words.
Rhyming and Word Families
For ELLs with a strong vocabulary, you can have them help create lists of words that follow common word families. For newcomers and lower level ELLs, consider using pictures to support vocabulary development as they learn word families.
Rhyming and Poetry
One way to help older ELLs practice rhyming is through poetry. They can listen to and read rhyming poems. They can also use poetry frames to create their own rhyming poems. For students that need additional support give them a list of rhyming words to use.
There are many wonderful children’s books full of rhymes. These books are great to read aloud to ELLs. After multiple times reading the book, have students listen for rhyming words. They can raise their hands each time they hear words that rhyme. You can also cover some of the rhyming words and have students fill in the missing words. After reading you can create a list of rhyming words from the book.
Here are some diverse books with rhymes to use as read alouds.
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In All Are Welcome a rhyme describes how children from diverse backgrounds start out their school day.
In Under My HIjab a girl uses rhyme to describe how the important women in her life wear hijabs.
Students will enjoy listening to Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors. In this book, there are short rhyming poems that give examples of different colors.
This set of rhyming picture sorting cards can be used for a range of rhyming activities.