Rhymes make readers: Videos & books for early learners

By Shelley Harris, Children’s Librarian

Rhyming is a key skill for kids on the path to reading. When kids can easily hear parts of words, it helps them understand how to decode them when they are ready to read. Nursery rhymes are great to share, because they often include words kids won’t hear in everyday speech: lassies and lads, speckled frogs, Miss Muffet’s tuffet, curds, and whey. 

Rhymes are easy to build into your routines, because they don’t require props and can be shared in the car, waiting in lines, in the bath, or anywhere! Below are a few activities you can do to have fun rhyming together.

Watch these videos

In this first video, Miss Jenny and Miss Shelley share some favorite rhyming books for babies, toddlers, and preschoolers and how to build rhyme routines.

In the second video, Miss Sarah demonstrates a great nursery rhyme to share with young children.

Read these books

Looking for more to share?

Share poetry! Jack Prelutzsky, the first Children’s Poetry Laureate, has many books of hilarious poetry written just for kids. My personal favorite is “I spied my shadow slinking” from The New Kid on the Block. I’ve had it memorized for twenty years!

Share nursery rhymes from around the world! Our World Language section has nursery rhymes from Korea, China, Australia, and more, in the original language and English.

Let kids fill in the rhymes! Shark in the Park and Shark in the Dark are a great deal of fun, and the illustrations help kids know how to finish the rhyme.

Hunt for nursery rhyme characters in the illustrations of Susan Middleton Elya’s Little Roja Riding Hood! Perhaps they will lead you to your next read.

Make your own rhyming book! Rewrite your favorite story in rhyme or rhyme favorite names, toys, food, and more. Be silly! Use made-up nonsense words and let older kids draw what it could be.

Shelley Harris

About Shelley

Shelley is a children’s librarian with a passion for early literacy, serving and celebrating the disability community, and exploring technology. She can often be found practicing storytime songs with her black lab, Bingo.