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Conversations about Rhymey Words

by Tim O’Keefe

Conversations about Rhymey Words

Five-year-old Devin and his three-and-a-half-year-old brother Colin snuggled next to their father on the couch.  The boys loved listening to the stories Tim read.  It was their favorite thing to do when their father got home from work.  This evening’s book, Dr. Seuss’s Hop on Pop, was a familiar one.

Tim read, “SAD, DAD, BAD, HAD.”

“I like his face,”  Devin pointed to the picture of the dad in his easy chair.  “It’s all droopy.”

Colin pointed to the words on the opposite page and read,  “Dad is sad.”

“That’s exactly what the words say,” said their father.

“Yep,” said Colin.

Microsoft Word - WITH IMAGES - Phonics Vignette 3-3.docx

“Those are rhymey words,” said Dev.

Colin leaned closer to the book and stared at the words.  “Yep, they rhyme. Dad, sad, and bad are all rhymey.”

“You notice anything about those words, you guys?”  They had the book memorized, but the children examined the text (words) carefully.

“All those words have a D,” said Colin.  “D for Devin.”

Tim nodded.  “Right! They all end with D.  What else do you see?”

Devin said, “And they all have an A.  Really, they all have AD at the end.”

“They sure do.  The AD at the end of those words gives them that same rhyming sound.  You guys know how to read this page, let’s read it together.”

Dad is sad.

Very, very sad.

He had a bad day.

What a day Dad had!

“Why do you think Dad had such a bad day?”  Tim asked.

“Maybe he’s tired,” said Dev.  “Sometimes you get tired.”

“Yeah, I do.  What do you think Colin?”

“Prob’ly he had a long meeting.”

Tim smiled.  “Sure, a long meeting could make you tired and sad.  Don’t you love how Dr. Seuss made this book with all those rhyming words?”

Devin thought a moment then piped up, “Dr. Seuss could make him M-A-D.”

“Sure, mad is a rhyming word too.  How’d you know that word?”

“Cause M like Mama.”

Developing the Ability and Desire to Read

An important lesson from this and other vignettes is that the relationships between parents and caregivers and their children are so important to developing the ability and desire to read.  Children often begin to read right in the laps of loved ones well before they go to school.  While these three were rereading a beloved book, there was a special feeling building toward reading and the author.

Devin and Colin were enjoying the meaning of the story brought to life through text, art, and story.  Devin immediately commented on the droopy dad as they began their discussion.  While they read, Tim and the boys had an interesting discussion trying to understand why indeed Dad had a rough day.  It was clear they were making connections to past conversations.

Children also learn about letter sounds – phonics – while enjoying their favorite books.  

In this case, the boys were becoming aware of the ‘AD’ sound and how it was used in this simple story.  Tim uncovered how Dr. Seuss used rhyming words to write the very simple story of a father’s tiring day.  Devin demonstrated that once he understood the rhyming pattern, he could create other words with the same ending sound.

Here is a list of books with strong rhymes that are just plain fun to read with children.

  • Ten Apples Up On Top – by Theo LeSieg
  • Poetry books by Shel Silverstein (Where the Sidewalk Ends, Falling Up)
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama – Anna Dewdney
  • Chika Chika Boom Boom – Bill Martin Jr.
  • Green Eggs and Ham – Dr. Seuss
  • Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

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