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Almost 8 year old can NOT rhyme


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My dd has had some reading issues for awhile. There was a thread a bit back about it, but the school district evaluated her, said she doesn't have auditory issues (based on her score on earobics), she can not rhyme and needs reading help, but that they wouldn't help us because her scores were not "low enough", though she got 0s on many of the tests but her math score was good. So anyway, she's been working on Apples & Pears and Dancing bears and has been making progress. But the kid can not understand rhyming. If I say "shoe", she can tell me "shot" starts the same. But if I ask her to rhyme cat, she can not. Not with examples or help. Not on paper, the board, or orally. My 4 yo can easily rhyme them. She can read the Bob books and CVC words, but is behind whe she is "supposed to be" for spelling and reading compared to other beginning 2nd graders. The rhyming bothers me, though.


Is this as abnormal as I think? The school thought so, and my other kids all did/can before her age (8 next month). I just don't know what to do. We've spent hundreds trying to figure this out and I don't have any more money to throw at figuring this out!

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It sounds like your child may struggle with phonemic awareness (the ability to hear separate sounds in words) - how is her spelling - has she written things of her own accord at all and if so what types of words is she spelling correctly - are they all visually learnt or does she use phonics to spell?


Usually phonemic awareness starts by being able to hear the beginning sound of a word which it seems she can do. You can then try getting her to split off the first sound (r-at, c-at of short words) and see if she can do that. Next see if she is capable of hearing ending sounds (that cat ends in t)


I am not sure what you have tried with her to teach rhyming.


If she can do these steps she should be able to rhyme unless she does not understand what it means to rhyme - just tell her that words that rhyme have the same ending sound (eg at) and then give her plenty of examples and get her to play with word tiles so that she can make her own rhyming words (even if they are not real words) - so you give her the tile for "at" and then get her to add loads of first consonants on to them and read them. This however implies that she can read at least cvc words.


Also read loads of nursery rhymes to her and poems that rhyme and Dr Seuss - just read them and do not ask her anything, just enjoy them for a few months before trying again.

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We do all of that. We read many books a day, Dr. Seuss is read like the Bible around here. We have poetry all day every day. We sing, do music, etc. There is no lack of language exposure or rhyming around her. We play lots of word games throughout the day and have for years (it's something we always did for fun and never paid attention to it potentially helping with vocabulary!).


That's why I'm still concerned. We've tried Literacy Leaders, several phonics programs, AAS, etc. We are doing some LOE right now and Dancing Bears also requires them to break the words apart. She can break them apart. She is not a visual person, I believe. She spells phonetically and we are trying to work on some sight words. Her spelling is fairly terrible, even for her age. A&P is really helping this, though. She has seen pretty dramatic improvement lately from it. I believe it might be auditory, but her regular hearing test was normal and they would only do some Earobics test on her instead of a full auditory processing evaluation.


For working with rhyming, we do the above, first of all. She is the only one who can not figure out rhymes (like if we're making up silly songs-which we do all day long!) or doing poetry or doing our phonics programs. I do break it down for her, walk her through it, give her examples...so if I say "let's say words that rhyme with cat. Sat and mat rhyme with cat. Hear at-at-a-t? M-at, S-at, C-at." She will say something like "mit? sad? car?". She has her phonograms down pat. We've done that for AGES, but she still slips sometimes or needs some review. I just don't know. She can recite poetry or Dr.Seuss quotes, but can not figure out how to do it herself. Does that make sense?

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I like the instruction in The Phonics Toolkit for phonemic awareness. Reading Rescue 1-2-3 is a good overall guide to trouble shooting reading difficulties. Study Dog has segments designed specifically to practice rhyming and end sounds. You might find some free resouces here:


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If you ask her a question like, "Do cat and sat rhyme?" can she answer it? Can she hear a rhyme but only has trouble thinking of rhyming words herself?


My DD is dyslexic but her phonemic awareness is off the charts high after working on it for a couple of years. Understanding rhyming took her longer than the exercises like "say horse without the /h/", etc. She does well at listening to words to see if they rhyme. However, she has a lot of difficulties with word retrieval. You can hear it every time she speaks. So asking her for a rhyming word is much more difficult because she has a hard time pulling one out, if that makes sense.


So, I would first see if your DD is able to tell you if something rhymes or not. "Does house and mouse rhyme?" (Y) "Does milk and pink rhyme?" (N) If she is struggling there, then you just need to keep reviewing it. Try making cards with word endings and other cards with various beginnings on them to help her create words.


If it is more of a recall issue, like my DD's, then she needs strategies. My DD and I now work on going through the alphabet and adding beginnings to the word ending. Say we are trying to rhyme with cat. We will try a "at", b "bat", c "cat", d "dat" ... to find which ones make words. After she gets the hang of that, we'll start trying out some beginning blends like sh, fr, or str.


But, yes, like most people before me have mentioned, reading difficulties plus rhyming problems are large red flags for dyslexia and you might want to get some additional testing. FWIW, A&P and DB have also been a huge help here after failing with more AAS and other OG approaches. My DD's issues are more visual and memory based than phonological (though we do have some of that as well).

Edited by sixpence1978
improving clarity
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My dd was over 8 when she learned to rhyme as well. I agree that a common symptom of dyslexia is the inability to rhyme. Your daughter's case may be subtle enough that she wouldn't qualify for the school's definition of needing intervention (that typically requires performing 2 or more grade levels below her age), but that doesn't mean she doesn't have it. Even if you can't get an official diagnosis, you can still research dyslexia and use methods that are known to help with it.


When it comes to rhyming, there are three stages of rhyming:


Hearing rhyme

One way to help kids hear rhyme:

“Listen to this sentence: There’s a goat in my boat. Now you say it.” Child repeats the sentence.

“Boat and goat rhyme. They have the same sound at the end: oat. Say these words with me: boat, goat.”

“I’ll say another sentence, and you’ll repeat the sentence and say the two words that rhyme. ‘There’s a fox in the box.” Child repeats the sentence, then identifies the words ‘fox’ and ‘box’ as rhyming.


With some kids, this activity may need to be repeated every day for two weeks straight before they catch on. Keep practice very short but frequent until the child catches on.


You're doing an awesome job of providing a language rich atmosphere, reading lots of books that contain rhyme etc... I’d read several books a day, and really emphasize the rhyming words by making the rhyming words a bit louder that the others.



Nursery rhymes, rhyming games, songs, poems…anything that she wouldn’t mind hearing over and over again. Activity engaging kids in a play rountine is much more effective. Rhyming songs are good, because they let kids experience what we mean in a different way.



Another idea is to try turning it into a kinesthetic activity, when possible. Let her “feel” what you are asking for. Clapping games like Miss Mary Mack can add a kinesthetic activity.


Differentiating rhyme. On index cards, draw or paste on clipart of rhyming items such as bat/hat, men/pen, bee/tree, house/mouse, king/ring, snail/jail. Play various games such as:


1. Matching games (mix up the cards, and work with your dd on pairing up the words with identical endings. Really emphasize the last sounds in the words as you pronounce the words).


2. An easier version is the lay out three picture cards, two of which rhyme and one that does not. Say the words aloud with your daughter. Have the her identify the picture card that does not rhyme.


3. Say two words and have your learner decide if they sound alike at the end. Make sure she understands that a strict rhyme has the same vowel sound, and also the same ending consonant sound(s). For example:

mad – sad “YES”

bear – chair “YES”

ball – wet “NO”


(AAR Pre-reading has exercises like this, and puts the 3 cards in the wagon. When the child discovers which one doesn't rhyme, they remove it and say "Get out of the Wagon!")


Producing rhyme. It sounds like this is the main part of rhyming that you have been focusing on, but hold off on this until she can do the other two stages of rhyming. Some activities: say a word and have her try to rhyme. Put objects in a bag, have her pull one out, say what it is, and then think of a rhyme. Say sentences with one word wrong for her to correct. Ie, "Let's play a same." (You mean a game!). This can be a fun one to do with a doll, puppet, or stuffed animal that keeps "forgetting" what word to use.


HTH some, hang in there! Merry :-)

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Sounds like the school district is not taking you seriously. You might consider looking into an advocate. Someone who could advocate for you with the school district. Another option is do independent testing which sounds like could possibly give you a diagnosis of Dyslexia and then you could take that diagnosis back to the school district to get services. Seeing an audiologist is a great idea too just to be able to make sure its not that.


Reading your posts again did they even test her through the school district?

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Sounds like the school district is not taking you seriously. You might consider looking into an advocate. Someone who could advocate for you with the school district. Another option is do independent testing which sounds like could possibly give you a diagnosis of Dyslexia and then you could take that diagnosis back to the school district to get services. Seeing an audiologist is a great idea too just to be able to make sure its not that.


Reading your posts again did they even test her through the school district?


They did some standardized tests to see where she placed compared to her peers at that time (Spring 2012). They did a hearing test and had her do a level of Earobics to see if she had CAPD which was our #1 concern. But that's all. They are not certified or qualified to test for dyslexia, and I can not find anyone who is. I go in a month for her physical when hopefully they will FINALLY refer us to a Neuropsych. She has profound Hashimoto's, so we thought it was that for awhile, but it's not proving to be.

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Huge Red Flag.


You are wise to not ignore it, and listen to your gut.


We have a son with all sorts of issues including CAPD who used Earobics and couldn't do it. HOWEVER, there were sections he COULD do quite well. Earobics can not at all diagnose CAPD, but it can give you a signal to dig deeper. Our son's is so obvious it was clearly CAPD before we even tried Earobics. He can not rhyme, he can not "hear" syllables, he can not handle me spelling words to him unless it is one.letter.at.a.time. and sometimes he still gets it wrong.


Push for more testing. You will never make good progress until you get this resolved and have some strategies to work with it.


Also, we eventually stumbled upon the Wilson Reading System, which is making a huge difference. Warning, it is incredibly expensive at around $500. However, I wish we had it 5 years ago, it is that good. I'd spend it ten times over to see the results we are seeing now. Our son was 11 and reading at first grade level, barely. Just couldn't pull it together. We started Wilson 8 weeks ago (He is now almost 14) and are seeing dramatic improvement. This is the system for kids who just can't read no matter what you do.


Hope this helps!



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