One of my favorite early literacy skills to talk about in preschool storytime is phonological awareness, the ability to hear and play with smaller sounds in words. This important skill plays a huge role in helping children learn to read. Rhymes are a fun way to introduce sound patterns. Once children hear and play with the sounds of words, later they can learn to decode and read new words.
Some of my favorite rhymes for preschoolers are: Two Little Blackbirds, Here Is the Beehive, and Bread and Butter, and A Hunting We Will Go (make it more fun with props or flannels). Listed below are ways to promote phonological awareness with different ages. Check out this great “Top Ten” resource list from Reading Rockets. Have fun! -Rebecca
Babies: Sing songs- singing slows down language. Sing nursery rhymes, make up songs with baby’s name, etc. Don’t like singing? Play recorded music while bouncing baby (or clap and tap the rhythm). Read books that have rhyme and repetition (try Dancing Feet by Lindsey Craig or The Baby Goes Beep! by Rebecca O’Connell).
Toddlers: Sing songs! Sing nursery rhymes and songs with animal sounds, incorporating actions (favorites include Wheels On the Bus and Old MacDonald). Find stories you can read and sing- like Down by the Bay by Raffi; Brown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.; Today is Monday by Eric Carle; Row, Row, Row Your Boat (and others) by Jane Cabrera, and more.
Preschoolers: Sing songs! Sing nursery rhymes, favorite songs, make up songs together. Play rhyming games (I Spy with my little eye…something that rhymes with cat), or clap your child’s name or different words using one clap per syllable. Read books with rhyme and repetition, such as: There’s a Wocket in My Pocket by Dr. Seuss, Tanka Tanka Skunk by Steve Webb, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr., Llama Llama Red Pajama (and others) by Anna Dewdney, Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler, Cock-a-doodle-moo! by Bernard Most, Chugga-Chugga Choo-Choo by Kevin Lewis and more.