February 2nd, 2012 | Posted in Listening Skills, Speech and Language Development
Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein

Last week I was preparing a lesson for my “Sounds Fun” group. The group consists of 5 kindergarten students with identified listening challenges. Rhyming is one of our goals. So I pulled out the book Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein.

Such a great book and old enough that the children in the group had never heard it before. They loved the book and especially the rhymes: a rat in the hat, glue on his shoe, a rose on his nose, and combed his hair with a chair. I made copies of the rhyming pictures and spread them in the floor. The children found rhyming pairs and then listened to the book and later had to remember the rhymes in order (auditory sequential memory).

They LOVED it! Did they learn anything? Yes. Listening to the rhymes, they heard the patterns and how when you change the n in nose to the r turns into rose. Being able to hear the sounds, know which sound you have heard, identify the sound, and then understand the word, are the precursors to reading, the necessary foundational skill.  The children didn’t see the pictures in the book and so they had to really listen and “see” the pictures in their heads. Once they heard it and understood what they heard, they could look at the picture and check if what they heard actually matched what was in the book. Four- and five-year-olds should be rhyming and playing with rhymes. Try some nursery rhymes; Little Miss Muffet (what is a tuffet anyway?), Jack be Nimble, There was an Old Lady, Hey Diddle Diddle. Memorize them, act them out- have fun- rhyming to read.

Photo from openlibrary.org

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