Literacy with limericks: rhyming fun for everyone

May 12th was Limerick day. If you don’t know what a limerick is, let us enlighten you.

A humorous poem only five lines long. Lines one and two rhyme with the fifth line. The third and fourth lines rhyme. Rhyme scheme looks like this: AABBA

These short and fun poems are great for kids. Have them find some or make them up. Working in teams makes it even more fun.

Here’s an example from the limerick man himself, Edward Lear

There was an Old Man with a beard,

Who said, “It is just as I feared! –

Two Owls and a Hen,

Four larks and a Wren,

Have all built their nests in my beard”

Book of Nonsense, 1846

If the children need help getting started with rhyming, try this fun activity from Lessons for Literacy or try a Rhyming Scavenger Hunt 390601_LfL

Lesson Activity 21

Outcome 29: Differentiates and reproduces rhyming sounds

Learning to rhyme words is not only an enjoyable experience for young children, but this phonological awareness skill has been shown to be a significant predictor of successful reading achievement in later school years. However, rhyming is not always an easy activity for young children to master. In helping children to learn the concept of rhyme, understand that they can use real words or nonsense words to accomplish the task.


Rhyming Names

Have children produce real or nonsense words that rhyme with their first and last names (for example: Jacob, macob, bacob; Jim, slim, him; Carla, Marla, Darla; John, Juan, lawn).

My Rhymes

Play a game in which you say a word and the children repeat it and add a word that rhymes. Initially help children who are having problems with the rhyming sound. Allow children to help each other. Work independently with children who are struggling.

Rhymes in Literature

Read books by authors who use rhyming words, such as those by Dr. Seuss, or books of Mother Goose rhymes. As children become familiar with these books, have them periodically add the last rhyming words. You can also use standard finger plays that feature rhyming words—for example, “Eensy Weensy Spider”.

Idiomatic Rhymes

Introduce children to common phrases that have rhyming words. Some examples include willy nilly, brain drain, lucky ducky, and so on.

Musical Rhymes

Sing rhyming songs. (For example, “Hush Little Baby”) As children become familiar with the songs, have them change or extend the lyrics with different rhyming words.

Same Yet Different?

Have children think of words that rhyme. Write the words so that children see that at times the same sound can be written in different ways (for example: seat/feet, bird/heard, spy/eye).

We would love to hear some of the fun limericks their little minds come up with. Share them here or on our Facebook page!

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