Teaching onset and rime often seems like a challenging task in kindergarten. For those unfamiliar with this concept, onset is the initial phonological unit of any word, and rime is the string of letters that follow. Rime usually consists of a vowel and a final consonant sound. Even when young children know how to read the first sound correctly, they experience difficulty using onset and rime to decode written words. When practicing this skill, we may often see students break words into each of their initial sounds instead of grouping the last few sounds into the rime. While learning individual sounds is helpful, it doesn’t teach students to string words together.
For these reasons, teaching onset and rime shows students how to use this important skill to improve their reading. Although, teaching onset-rime segmentation is a challenging task for many teachers. However, we can easily overcome this challenge by giving students various tasks using different CVC words represented as onset and rime. As a result, students can put these words together faster than a CVC word with three separate sounds. After all, repetition and variation will be the best way to help them master this skill and become more fluent readers.
I know that teaching students phonics concepts like this can be hard for them to grasp, so I want to make the process as easy as possible! So, in this article, I will share how to teach onset and rime in kindergarten and how you can implement these common word parts into your speech unit!
One of the simplest ways to get students to start practicing this skill is with picture puzzles. On one side of the puzzle, students can read the onset, and on the other side, they can read the rime. Then, they can physically slide the letter combinations together to create the whole word. I love using picture puzzles because they are a great way to teach this phonological awareness skill to young readers.
In addition, students can self-check by putting the two pieces of the puzzle together and making sure the speech sounds match the word they are reading. As students become ready for a more challenging version, students can match the onset card to the rime card. Seeing the word split into two parts is an excellent way to help students use onset and rime in their reading. In addition, students will stop sounding out each part of the syllable and start grouping the sounds when reading the word.
Roll and Cover
Another fun way for students to practice reading using onset and rime is a roll and cover activity. In this hands-on reading game, students roll two dice. On one die are beginning sounds. On the other die are common final sounds like an, en, ed, etc.
Students then put the two word parts together to make a real or nonsense word. Finally, they can mark it on a “Bingo” style playing card if it is a real word. I love this hands-on activity because it teaches students to look for sound correspondence of a word. For example, if the onset and rime don’t sound right when put together, your students need to choose a different rime or a new onset to complete the word. In addition, students can learn how to use sounds to read unfamiliar words! Reading unfamiliar words comes in handy when reading at a higher reading level than they’re used to!
You can use picture match to teach onset and rime with simple worksheets. First, students blend the onset and rime shown on the worksheet. Then, they can glue on the picture that matches the word. I especially like this activity because it has a low margin of error, like the first activity mentioned. A low margin of error helps build students’ confidence with this reading skill. In addition, using picture cards is a great way to keep students engaged while learning about onset and rime.
These are just a few of the many phonics activities that you can use to build a strong foundation for your students. In addition, these activities give students opportunities to practice the skill to apply it to real-life skills! Teaching onset and rime may be a daunting lesson to teach young students. So, using simple, practical activities can improve phonemic awareness and help your students learn new words!
All of the activities mentioned are perfect to use in guided reading groups. You can also use them as center activities as students start getting the hang of it. After students build this skill in isolation through various and repeated exposures, they can use it to help them become more fluent readers.