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Easy Rhyming Words

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Author: Tricia Edgar

Do you like to rhyme? Do you do it all the time? Get some friends together to see what they can rhyme.

Problem:

Which words are the easiest to rhyme? Which words are the hardest? Why?

Materials:

  • Friends and family members
  • A list of 8 words that have rhymes
  • Notebook and pencil
  • Stopwatch

Procedure:

  1. Start by sitting down with an adult and brainstorming a list of words that have rhymes. Think of words that you think might be really easy or really hard to rhyme. This experiment will help you see if you’re right. Some ideas include include back, bale, bear, ball, bake, bit, and bite.
  2. It’s rhyme time! Gather a group of friends together to see how well they can rhyme. Give your friends some snacks and activities and a room to play in. One by one, they’ll go into the other room, where you and an adult helper will ask them to rhyme words.
  3. Create a hypothesis, your best guess about what is going to happen. What words will your friends find easiest to rhyme? Which ones will be the hardest?
  4. Now, bring each friend into the room. Explain to each person that you’d like her to rhyme words. If your friend doesn’t know what a rhyme is, give her some examples to start her out. Try to avoid using your test rhymes as examples.
  5. Give your friend a word that is easy to rhyme. Tell her that she has 30 seconds to think of all of the words that could rhyme with that word, and start your stopwatch.  Write down your friend’s name and the word you gave her in your notebook. Every time your friend makes a rhyme, add a tally line beside that word. Stop when the watch reaches 30 seconds.
  6. Repeat the process with the harder words. Count how many rhymes your friend can make from these.
  7. Do the same thing with all of your friends. When they’re done, thank all of them for being such great sports.

Results:

What’s easiest to rhyme? It depends on the person and how many words that person knows, but words with a simple vowel and consonant pair at the end are usually the easiest to rhyme.  A vowel is an a, i, e, o or u – and sometimes y.  Consonants include all of the other letters of the alphabet that surround those vowel sounds.

Why?

Two words are a perfect rhyme of each other if the last vowel sound and the sounds that come after the last vowel sound are the same. For example, sack and back are a perfect rhyme, but sack and backgammon aren’t, because backgammon has a lot of other letters after the part that rhymes with sack.

Simple, short words are easiest to rhyme because they’re easier to hear and see in your head. It’s also more likely that your friends will know these words. For example, if you ask them to rhyme the word “bit,” they will probably know that sit and mitt rhyme with bit. If you ask them to rhyme a longer word like “monkey,” they may have a harder time, because that is a more complicated word. Words like “clunky” and “chunky” rhyme with “monkey,” but your friends might not think of these words right away.

Someone is a good rhymer if they have a good vocabulary – they know lots of words. Some people find it easier to rhyme than others. If your friends are quite young, they might not know what a rhyme is yet.

How else can you do a rhyme experiment? How about getting some parents to try to rhyme as well? Do you think that they’ll do as well as the kids?

If you want to make the experiment into a group game, you can also get all of your friends together at the same time and see what rhymes they can brainstorm. How quickly can they think of rhymes for each word?

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