8 Reasons Why You Should Teach Your Bilingual Child Rhymes


Did you know that the ability to rhyme is predictive of reading ability? In fact, rhyming is one of those Phonological Awareness skills that I often focus on as an early childhood education teacher.  


It turns out, however, that rhyming is very difficult for language learners. It is deeply tied to language knowledge and sophistication. And it has been my experience that children learning English, for example, are unable to rhyme until they become very proficient in the language. Many won’t be able to do it until they learn to read. 


The research is a little murky as to whether rhyming helps children read or if it’s reading that helps children rhyme. What is known, however, is that the two are extremely intertwined. So, if that’s the case, why should we teach children rhymes and poems? Here are 8 reasons why we should teach bilingual children rhymes and poems:


1.    Rhyming helps children understand the workings of a language, including sentence structure, grammar, and the sounds within words. 

2.    Learning rhymes teaches children to anticipate upcoming words, preparing them to make predictions, which is very important for reading success. 

3.    It teaches them the rhythm of a language, which will help them become more expressive readers. 

4.    Rhyming also teaches them to manipulate language, giving them an open door to play with it and explore it. 

5.    When you teach rhymes (especially if you’re working with a whole group) you are giving children a chance to chant! Why is chanting so important? Because it is a low stress way for children to participate in a language activity. 

6.    Children will remember these rhymes and use them throughout their play!

7.    Teaching children rhymes and poems is also a way of teaching about culture.

8.    Rhyming is fun! 


Teaching children rhymes in the target language at a young age will help them become even more sophisticated and knowledgeable in that language. It will help fine tune their ear for the rhythm and sounds of the target language, while opening up the doors to their imagination. 


Recently, I collaborated with Bilingual Kidspot on a list of Nursery Rhymes in Spanish (along with their translations). Check it out here!


The blog also has the following lists of nursery rhymes:

 Nursery Rhymes in French

 Nursery Rhymes in Chinese

 Nursery Rhymes in English


How about you? Do you teach your children rhymes and poems in your target language? What are some of your favorites?

About the Author

Keli Garcia Allen is a certified Spanish teacher and currently works as a Preschool teacher in a bilingual classroom. She is the Head of Content for Learn Safari and is currently working on Spanish Safari,  a Spanish Learning game for children 4-10 years old. You can follow her and the rest of the team on FacebookInstagram, and Twitter.

Keli Garcia Allen