Teaching Rhyming Words for Kindergarten

Teaching Rhyming Words for Kindergarten

Rhyming is an important part of developing your students' phonological awareness skills and helping them become competent readers and writers. It's fun, too! This blog post explains everything you need to know about teaching rhyming words for kindergarten.

Teaching rhyming to kindergarten students is such a fun way to promote strong language skills. It can sometimes take a little while for students to get the idea, but once they start to notice rhymes in different stories and conversations, they become very excited to learn. It's so much fun to see their eyes light up when they make the connections between this sound and that one!

Rhyming is a beautiful and important skill that can support their reading and writing skills long-term. 

Why is rhyming such an important skill?

Rhyming is one of the four pillars of phonological awareness, along with learning about syllables, onset and rime, and phonemic awareness. Altogether, these individual skills help determine how deeply our students understand language, so it's crucial to give them a strong foundation with lots of explicit instruction and evidence-based support. 

Rhyming is one of the most important pre-reading skills, and it can help students identify patterns in language much faster than they could visually. It's also deeply connected to phonemic awareness skills, where students must attend to the individual sounds and groups of sounds in words. Each one reinforces the other and can make it so much easier for young students to grasp the details of the English language. The more your students understand language orally, the easier it'll be for them as they learn to read and write!

What are rhyming words?

In short, rhyming words all have the same ending sound regardless of the spelling variation. Here are some examples:

  • Kite
  • Fight
  • Night
  • Knight
  • Bite
  • Invite

This is different from alliteration, which is when words all start with the same initial sound. Young readers often pick up on these details, so it's important to specify that rhymes focus on the sounds in the middle and end of the word. 

Looking for a whole lot of rhyming words to get you started? You can download these free Word Family Charts here. They include rhyming word families for:

  • CVC words and CVCC CCVC words
  • Words with consonant digraphs and x
  • Long vowel words
  • Words with diphthongs and r-controlled vowel sounds

Rhyming Word Games & Activities for Kindergarten

There are generally two stages of rhyme recognition that we watch for in kindergarten, which you can see in this free printable infographic:

  • Identifying which words rhyme
  • Generating a rhyme to match a specific word

If you're not sure which stage of rhyme recognition your student is in, start with these free Phonological & Phonemic Awareness Assessments to get a big-picture view of their current skill level across a variety of skills.

There are many different activities to teach rhyming on the blog, but I want to share some of my favourite options here to help you get started right away! I highly recommend incorporating rhyming practice into your instruction, just as you would teach syllables, CVC words, and more. 

You'll also want to take a minute to check out The Hive, our digital teacher platform. Not only does it help you structure your daily lessons and activities, but it also includes hundreds of evidence-based educational activities, videos, and more!

Here are some examples of the interactive rhyming videos that you'll find in The Hive!


It includes all of the activities you'll find below in one easy place, and you can even connect them to your daily lesson plans. It's teaching smarter, not harder!


To start, students will need to be able to recognise when there are rhyming words in a sentence or phrase. Many of us begin with picture books to help students learn about rhymes in context, like these 30 rhyming books for kindergarten. This will help students to recognise how rhyming works in stories and learn about how it can make a story more interesting and engaging. It's worth it to invest in a collection of children's books that model this skill really well and hold onto them for future years!

I always recommend starting with my kindergarten rhyming slides because they cover each of these skills and offer tons of opportunities for practice and reinforcement! 

For example, there are over 200 slides, including a Thumbs-up/Thumbs-down section to help young children recognise which words actually rhyme. There are also open-ended prompts to allow kids to name rhymes that match specific pictures. It's such an easy and interactive way to teach and reinforce rhyming with the whole class while still giving your kids a chance to be creative.

Pro Tip: To keep it more interesting, have your students use different body parts to show if words rhyme, like putting their left foot forward or spinning in a circle. You can also have them say the rhyming words in silly voices or clap when they hear different rhymes. The more engaging, the better!

Matching Rhymes

If you want to get started right away, grab this free rhyming activities set! It includes the matching cards below and three other printable worksheets to help you get back to teaching quickly.

This is just a taster of my Rhyming Printables bundle, which has over 25 activity pages!

Rhyme Jump - I love getting kids out of their seats whenever I can, and they love it too! This rhyming warm-up is totally free and involves two students at a time.

One student stands next to a card on their side of the line, and their partner must jump to find the corresponding rhyming word on their side. 

Rhyme Time Matching Cards - These highly visual picture cards are the ideal pre-reading activity to practise rhyming. Kids will need to say the words out loud (or in their heads) to find the matching word pairs. Perfect for morning work or literacy centers!

Rhyme Rainbows - Similar to the cards above, these rhyming pairs are completely visual, so they don't require your student to be able to read. Kids simply match the cards with the pictures of objects to find the rhyming pictures. This is a fun activity that works perfectly for independent work or could even be turned into a game!  

Rhyming Wheels - Kids must find at least one image on the rhyming wheel that matches the word in the middle. Have them find all the matching words on the wheel for an extra challenge! Moving the clips is a great way to practise fine motor skills at the same time.


Rhyme Clip Cards - These rhyming task cards come with 100 variations, so you can easily print to use for years to come! 

Odd One Out Rhyme Clip Cards

This time, students must identify the odd word out (the word that does not rhyme). 

If you're a member of The Hive, you also have access to a range of resources, including these Odd One Out Rhyming Task Cards and Odd One Out Rhyming Printables.

Build A Pizza Rhyme

Kids LOVE building their rhyming pizzasStudents build a pizza by matching the slices to a word or number on the pizza bases. 

Nursery Rhyme Activities

Nursery Rhymes are a fantastic way to consolidate rhyming skills. These no-prep nursery rhyme worksheets and nursery rhyme sequencing activities will help support your young learners as you introduce early literacy concepts such as rhyme, syllables and more. 


One of my favourite activities is to ask kids to come up with as many words as they can that rhyme with a specific word. This is an easy activity for morning work, but you can also do it during small groups.

I recommend introducing new words with sound boxes whenever possible. This will help connect the spelling patterns with the rhymes, which will really help your students learn how to read and write much faster. 

Rhyming Words Task Cards - Once kids start writing, you can easily use rhymes to practise word families, especially for CVC, CVCC and other words with similar structures. Kids grab one of the 250 rhyming words task cards, then come up with as many words they can think of that rhyme with the word. 

I have even included picture answer sheets to help kids make sure they have the correct answer!

Rhyme Board Games - The more fun your students can have while learning, the better! This fun game is perfect for kids at this stage of development because they must generate their own word that rhymes with the image to move forward. It's the perfect way to get kids talking and practising their language skills at the same time!



This is just the start! There are so many great resources to support Kindergarten students on The Hive, including many activities that will expand on these rhyming skills to ensure they start with a solid foundation. You'll also love our wide range of phonics apps and digital learning tools!



If you intentionally teach and practise rhyming in your classroom, your students will have strong language abilities, which will lead to them becoming competent and confident readers and writers. It can really make a big difference!

More Kindergarten Literacy Resources

Free Printable List of CVC Words & Decodable Words

How to Teach CVC Words the Right Way

Kindergarten Scope & Sequence - A Kindergarten Phonics Curriculum

7 Phoneme Segmentation Activities & Tools for Kindergarten

Free Printable Phonics Sounds List