Rhyming and Steady Beat
Do you find your child enthusiastically bouncing up and down when music comes on? Clapping and dancing along with music, while keeping a steady beat, also helps with reading. A steady beat is an unchanging continuous pulse and it takes a little practice to be able to keep a beat going strong.
Steady beat and rhythm is found inside all languages. A children’s book with a steady beat helps a child hear rhythm contained in the words. After all, the same sense of beat experienced in music will help a child read with greater ease when they get older.
Some of my favorite rhythmic books are
- Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault’s classic Listen to the Rain which uses words to build up the rhythm of a thunderstorm with a quiet finish
- Charlie Parker Played Be-Bop by Chris Raschka which is inspired by Charlie Parker’s song “A Night in Tunisia“
- Down by the Cool of the Pool by Tony Mitton which has animals keeping the beat with their best moves.
- Cha-Cha Chimps by Julia Durango which offers another steady dancing beat.
Most rhyming books will fit the bill, but it takes practice to learn the words well enough to keep a steady beat going as you turn the pages. So, read these books many times, and use your body while reading. Books with rhythm are infectious…so let your body move along with the words. Nod that head, clap those hands and tap those toes!
Give your child a shaker or rhythm sticks and let them play along as you read. Exaggerate the rhythm to help them hear, and feel, the beat.
Talk with babies and tap out rhythms as you talk. If your preschool child is having difficulty hearing and sounding out words with multiple syllables, break up the word and tap out the syllables. Make it a game that you can enjoy together.
Remember, we are talking about the sounds of language, it should be noted that children should never be pushed to read print early. First, learn language through sound. Play and have fun with your child. If your child can hear and repeat word sounds, feel and produce a steady beat, and loves reading time with Mom and Dad…congratulations! That’s a job well done!
The beat goes on…
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Bringing Books to Life
Bringing Books to Life helps educators and parents find fun and innovative ways to inspire children to read.
Elizabeth Atack, Program Coordinator
Megan Godbey, Adult Literacy Coordinator/GROW facilitator
Klem-Mari Cajigas, Bilingual GROW Project Facilitator