Finding out the rhyming words is a regular activity in the classroom while transacting a poem from our English curriculum. Rhyming words make a poem rhythmic and sonorous. It is because of these rhyming words poems can be distinguished from prose. Rhyming words help learners in the familiarization of the sounds of the language and also help them to learn about the word families like-cat, hat, mat, etc. This knowledge eventually leads them to further strengthen their capacity for reading and writing with time. In the early schooling days, rhymes are important so much as they show the child's reading success. These nursery rhymes are the early exposure of language to the child and they are fun. They are fun because they rhyme. Rhyming teaches child how language works and how sounds effect in the pronunciation of different words. Rhymes help children to experience the rhythm of the language.
Pertaining to its importance, it is necessary that the teacher reflects the below mentioned core points while teaching rhyming words to the learners instead of loosely terming them as similar sound words.
According to 'Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary' the word 'rhyme' is a noun which means-
"a word that has the same sound or ends with the same
sound as another word."
That means, rhyming words are two or more words that have the same or similar ending sound. They are set of or group of words, where the initial sounds keep on changing but the last two sounds remain the same and we must read the last two sounds together as one sound. For example, let us look at the following set of words-
# Cat- rat- hat- mat
The last two sounds are 'a' and 't' and we must pronounce them together as 'at'. So, we pronounce as-
# c…at, r…at, h…at, m…at
As we see, the initial sounds in each case is changing but the last two sounds, i.e. 'at' remain the same.
When the last two sounds of a set or group of words are similar, they come under same word family. So, the words –[cat, rat, hat, mat] come under -at family.
Now, look the following set of words-
Do they all rhyme? No, because the word 'dig' does not fall under the same word family. Though the last sound is same in each case, i.e. 'g' but the second last sound is 'i' instead of 'o' in the case of the word 'dig'. So, the word 'dig' does not fall under the '-og' word family.
Enormous training of the ears is required on the part of the learners in this context. Leaners need to be trained to use their ears to listen as they say the words. Teachers at the same time need to point out the sounds associated with each of the letters which eventually develop the reading skill of the learners. Teachers may prepare charts of different word families as shown below for practice of the learners or may even download from internet and take printouts if there is the availability of resources.