Why is learning to rhyme important to my son's development?

Research has shown that strong rhymers make good readers! The reason that learning to rhyme is so important is because it helps with phonological awareness. By listening to rhymes, your son begins to recognize that words share segments of sound (for example, cat and hat, share the sound “at”), and that words that have sounds in common are often spelled similarly. You can foster phonological awareness by reading your child rhyming books (for example, Dr. Seuss or classic nursery rhymes). Once he is familiar with the story, try pausing at the end of each sentence to let him identify the rhyming word. You can also play rhyming games (e.g., “can you think of word that rhymes with __?”) or sing rhyming songs such as “Down by the Bay” and take turns making up fun rhymes.

Jennie Ito, Ph.D.

Child Development Expert

Jennie Ito is a mother of two and a child development consultant who specializes in children’s play and toys. Before becoming a consultant for LeapFrog, she was an intern at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, DC, and later worked as a content expert for the Association of Children’s Museum’s “Playing for Keeps” Play Initiative. Jennie earned her doctorate degree in developmental psychology at Queen’s University in Ontario, Canada.