One of the skills young children need to begin developing to get ready for kindergarten success is phonological awareness: the ability to discriminate and manipulate the sounds in words. To succeed in learning phonics later on, children must be able to hear the separate sounds of /d/, /o/ and /g/ in the words 'dog'. Phonological awareness can be challenging for many children and is often the root of reading difficulties later on. When children first learn words, they focus on the meanings. To become phonologically aware, they must shift their attention away from the meaning of a word, to the sounds in the word. Research has shown that an important component of phonological awareness is the ability to recognize and later produce rhyming words. Adults can support this development by teaching their children nursery rhymes, singing songs and reading books with rhyming text. When reading aloud, stop and call attention to the rhyming words. You might say, "I hear two words that rhyme, listen: 'bug' and 'hug'. The ending sounds are the same, they rhyme."
Young children love the rhyme and rhythm present in children's books and there are many great ones to choose from. Here are a few available at Dayton Metro Library: