“There’s something so wonderful about writing in rhyme where it isn’t just the meaning of the words, it’s the music to the words and the shape and the sound.”
Learning about rhyming words is one of the earliest skills taught to young readers. Exploring rhymes helps students understand how language works through sounds and familiar word patterns. As children play with language, they learn to recognize these patterns and discover ways to manipulate words through different sound patterns.
Even as students become fluent readers, rhyme still has a significant purpose. We see rhyme in poetry to provide cadence and tone, and rhyme appears throughout all forms of music. Rap music is an obvious genre using rhythm and rhyme; in fact, many consider these artists to be our newest poets. This short discussion takes a look at this issue from both perspectives. Either way, everyone is exposed to rhymes in many different ways, and the use of rhyme is a great teaching tool for all subjects.
Here are six sites for exploring and creating rhymes across grade levels:
- Reading Rockets Rhyming Games – Reading Rockets is a national literacy initiative that offers many reading and literacy activities. The activities in this portion of the site feature games and videos for teaching rhyming to early and beginning readers. Be sure to click through to the complete lesson plan featuring the use of rhyming word cards and several activities for learning about rhymes at home and school.
- History for Kids (reviewed here) – This site shares collections of rhyming poems based on historical events and places like The Statue of Liberty, George Washington and the Cherry Tree, and Dinosaurs. In addition to sharing poems with your students, History for Kids is sure to inspire your students to create poems about any event in history or current time.
- Science Genius: Creating a Rhyme Lesson Plan – Rapper GZA teams up with a Columbia University Teaching College professor to teach science content from biology to physics using hip-hop. Students view a video and explore questions about features that make the video engaging. As a final project, students use the already-created chorus to create an original rap song.
- RhymeBrain (reviewed here) – this site is a word generator that provides a list of rhyming words for any word entered. In addition to rhymes, the word generator shares additional words to consider and words that almost rhyme. In addition to being an excellent resource for finding rhyming words, it is also an excellent tool for finding synonyms.
- Rhymes.net (reviewed here) – this is another rhyming word generator but with a different twist. Input your rhyming word, and this generator breaks down options by the number of syllables in each word. Other options include words that may rhyme and translation of your rhyming word to different languages. My favorite part of this site is the word cloud generator. The bottom of each page includes a word cloud representation of words rhyming with your original choice.
- Tall Jerome Math’s Songs (reviewed here) – watch math video parodies set to favorite songs like Careless Whispers and Fame at Tall Jerome’s site for high school math students. Each video includes lyrics and a short description of the video’s inspiration. Share parodies with students and challenge them to create and film original videos. In addition to using rhymes to create music, students will always remember the content when presented creatively!
Although learning about rhyme is an early literacy skill, it can be incorporated into any curriculum and used with any age level of students. Think about integrating rhyme into poetry or song to teach difficult concepts or as an alternative to traditional projects and presentations.
Do you have unique ideas for incorporating rhyme into the classroom? Share them in the comments below.