Is Your Child Learning to Read? Here’s How Simple Rhyming Books Can Help

by | Aug 15, 2020 | Family

Silly rhymes found in stories by popular authors like Dr. Seuss and Shel Silverstein have proven to stand the test of time. But why are children entranced by tongue-twisting lines like “knock on fox in socks in box”? It may be because such sing-songy stanzas are predictable, easily remembered, and recognizable in print. Emergent readers often rely on illustrations and context clues, but rhyme schemes are equally beneficial. If your child is learning to read, introducing rhyming books can help. Here’s how:


Before children learn to read, they are introduced to literature through sound. And let’s face it, rhymes are extremely fun to listen to. They are catchy and melodic, which encourages listeners to join in. Rhyming teaches children that words can be playful and silly, while still conveying meaning. All of these factors help create book lovers who go on to become fluent readers. 

Word Families

Words families (unit syllables) are groups of words that are spelled with the same phonetic ending. Here are a few examples:

  1. -ake: bake, cake, rake, make, lake
  2. -ink: sink, blink, rink, think, pink
  3. -ump: stump, thump, lump, dump, pump

As you can see, rhyming words are found amongst word families. Recognizing word families in text is an important skill for new readers. Learning how to identify and pronounce just one unit syllable can be the key that unlocks a whole host of words.  

First Sound Fluency (Also known as Initial Sound Fluency)

Once children understand the connection between word families and rhymes, it becomes easier to grasp one of the first foundational skills of reading: first sound fluency. According to researchers Kaminski and Good, initial sound fluency is defined as “a child’s ability to recognize and produce the initial sound in an orally presented word”. When you combine a strong understanding of first sound fluency with word families, your child is well on their way to becoming a novice reader.

Learning to read should be just as fun as it is educational. Interesting plots and colorful pictures are common elements that spark joy in future readers. But so are rhymes! All three components above are helpful tools that your child can use while discovering their lifelong love of reading. So stock up on your favorite nursery books and snuggle up for a rhyme-filled bedtime story.