Here’s a way to play with rhymes during your storytime! When you add a comment to the parents about what you’re doing, it helps them learn how singing and rhyming will help their child get ready to read. When parents know the “how” and “why” it can help them stay motivated to do the “what”!
For this activity, I spent a long time looking at nursery rhymes. What I wanted was to find some rhymes where the rhyming word was a concrete object that I could show with a picture. This was harder than I thought it was going to be! For example, “Twinkle, twinkle, little star / How I wonder what you are.” The rhyme is “are” but there’s no way you can make that be a picture that kids can name. Same with Mary Had a Little Lamb–the rhyming word is “go”!
I finally came up with three rhymes and rhyme fragments that would work, and found photo clip art for each image: Hey Diddle Diddle (the rhyming pictures are FIDDLE and SPOON), the first two lines of One Two Buckle My Shoe (SHOE and DOOR), and (thanks to my husband for this one!) Sing a Song of Sixpence (PIE and KING).
You can transition to this activity after you sing a song together or read a rhyming book. You can say, “Did you hear the rhyming words in that song? We say words rhyme when their endings sound the same, like CAT and HAT. Can you help me say some rhyming words?”
Then start to say one of the rhymes. When you get to the rhyming word, pause, and put the picture up before you say the word. See if the kids can name the picture and provide the rhyme! The reason I wanted them to be able to say it is so they can practice their expressive vocabularies, and hear the rhyme as they vocalize it themselves.
Do two of the rhymes, then say to the parents, “Grownups, when you let your child fill in the rhyming words of a familiar poem or song, they learn to hear that some words end with matching sounds. Hearing the ending sounds of words is a first step to hearing EVERY sound in every word–this is a skill that will help them as beginning readers.”
After you give your message to the adults, have the kids help you with your last rebus challenge, then go on to your next activity!