time to rhyme–go fish!

rhyme go fish Lately all Maddy wants to do is read, read, read, which is fine with me. She’ll read to me, my husband, and she’ll read to Owen or Cora.

She’ll read to anyone who will listen.

And it’s great that she is so willing to do this, because it gives me a chance to hear how she’s progressing. I’m able to give her high-fives for what she’s doing well or sneak in some extra teeny-tiny bits of fun learning in areas that might help.

I noticed that lately she needed more work with short e and short i sounds–reading even simple words quickly, automatically, and correctly–so for the last few days we’ve played with the short vowel families.

The ‘Go Fish’ format works well with anything, so all I did was crank out some easy, short vowel rhyme cards for this simple game.

Here’s the skinny. . .

  • Rhyme Time Go Fish: These game contains rhyming words with all of the short vowel sounds. There’s at least two or four rhyming words from the -at, -an, -ot, -op, -og, -en, -et, -ug, -ut, -it, and -in families.

The Rhyme Time Go Fish Cards (okay, actually, they’re just short vowel rhyming word cards, but that just sounds so boring. . . ) are here to download if you’d like.

rhyme go fish

Maddy’s rhyming pairs

The game is verrry simple.

All I said to Maddy, the first time we played, was, Hey, you big-time kindergartner reader. Are you up for beating your old mom at a game of ‘Rhyme Time Go Fish‘? It’s just like regular ‘Go Fish’, but it’s with rhyming words. Some of the words will be easy, and some will be tough. Ready to beat me?

And of course she was. And of course most of the words were way too easy for her. But some of them she had to think about, and that was my goal–to just get her a little more familiar–more confident–with all of the short vowel sounds before she’s introduced to some of the long vowel patterns.rhyme cards

my left-over, un-matched, very lonely cards

We turned all of the cards face down in a pile in the middle, and we each picked six cards. (She wanted six instead of five, since she just turned six.)

We put down all of our rhyming pairs, face up in front of us.

Then we picked up more cards if we needed to so that we each started the game with six cards in our hand.

Then I said, Okay, when it’s your turn, you say, ‘Mommy, do you have a word that rhymes with–and then you say one of the cards in your hand.‘ Okay?

Like I might say, ‘Maddy, do you have a word that rhymes with ‘dog’? Because right here, I have the word ‘dog’ in my hand. And if you do have a word that rhymes with ‘dog’, you give it to me. If not, you say, ‘Go fish’. Make sense?

So we played. And we played some more. And the person who has the most pairs at the end wins–as long as she’s able to read all of the words.


Rhyme Cards Teachmama.com by teach mama


Looking back, sure, I could have focused entirely on one or two sounds, maybe contrasting a sound she’s totally got with one that she’s just learning, but I wanted this to be fun and not really that much work. And the last thing I want to do at the end of a busy day of school for Maddy is to turn her away from these kind of games or give her early school-burnout. I’ve still got to be sneaky, right?

Anyway, this game is pretty cool because it continues to develop and increase the number of known features in the Letter-Name Alphabetic Stage, an early stage of word learning, which is where Maddy–and many of her kindergarten pals–are developmentally.

In an interesting article in the March 2009 The Reading Teacher, Pikulski and Chard recall Ehri’s 1998 study on fluency, saying that when encountering a printed word such as ‘bug’ as few as four times, children come to “accurately, instantly identify the word bug without attending to the individual letters, sounds, or letter-sound associations” (Fluency: Bridge Between Decoding and Reading Comprehension).

This automatic recognition of words makes things easier!! It ultimately increases fluency so students can focus on comprehending the text instead of decoding words. Wooo-hoo! Bring it on, Rhyme Time Go Fish!





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