I am presently teaching PreK in person one day a week. With limited time my co-teacher and I are trying to assess our students learning and meet their needs so their transition to kindergarten is smooth and they have familiarity with skills they will be using next school year. I always struggle with feeling like I need to prepare my students for the next step and know that I need to teach the child in front of me. Not the child who will be sitting there in 5 months. One way I do this is to create lessons, games, and activities that are easy for me or the child to differentiate. This PreK rhyming game is a prime example of that. Of all the skills that local kindergarten teachers have said need more work, rhyming tops the list! Find more ideas here.
PreK Rhyming Game
This game is simple but let me share with you how I use it. There are two areas of skills that this rhyming game focuses on. Subitizing and rhyming. If you aren’t familiar with this term, what subitizing is the ability to recognize amounts immediately without counting. So knowing that the side of the die with 5 dots has five without counting each one, or recognizing tally marks, or even if I hold up my hand with every finger, you know 5 without having to count each one. Having two areas of focus doesn’t just pack a double whammy. It also offers children a chance to excel in one area while they are learning another.
My PreK students can subitize one die with no problems, which helps them feel confident and work on rhyming, which is a little more difficult.
Ok – let me explain the game!
Gather your materials. You will need the game board ( download for free from the link at the bottom), a die, and a tray. I did this literacy game in pairs – I am trying to work on taking turns as so many children have not been in group settings as much as they would have in a normal school year, so our small group lessons offer that opportunity naturally.
Start by going over each image on the game board – saying the words out loud, so the children know exactly what they are. Those are bricks, not blocks, and a shoe, not a sneaker. This matters because you will be rhyming!
Now it’s time to roll and rhyme! Tell the children that you are going to roll the die and say the number out loud, then they need to find the picture on the game board that rhymes with it! I did one example roll then each child took turns.
I had to offer options with some students, so let’s say the child rolled a 4 – I’d say “Four -shoe, four-door?” and they’d select the rhyme. The fun thing about this game is the die is random. For many of my pairs, we ended up saying the same rhyme 5 or 6 times, which, if we were doing this in a teacher-directed rhyming lesson, would be horrendously boring, but they squealed with glee laughing as they repeated “Two -shoe!” over and over.
With a few of my students who are skilled rhymers, we’d find the rhyme and then say an additional one! ” Two, shoe, clue!’ ” Five, hive, live!” some of the rhymes made sense, and some didn’t ” Six, bricks, tricks,” but made-up rhymes are perfect. What we are hoping children can do is isolate and manipulate sounds in words. This skill helps them as they progress through early literacy development, specifically as they learn to decode words.
All my students loved this game, and after playing with me in our small group lesson, I put this out as a free choice activity for them to play together.
For the remainder of this school year, we are focusing on play, social interactions and then using small pockets of time to really work on skills that will help them be ready for kindergarten, but we are doing that playfully with activities like this Prek rhyming game. There is so much pressure with PreK to prepare your students for kindergarten, but don’t forget to teach the child in front of you!