When do kids learn how to rhyme?

By Tara Drinks

Expert reviewed by Elizabeth Babbin, EdD

At a glance

  • Young kids don’t all learn to rhyme at the same time.

  • Kids often can produce their own rhymes in kindergarten.

  • Trouble rhyming can be an early sign that a child struggles with reading.

“Try them, try them, and you may!

Try them and you may, I say.” 

— Dr. Seuss, Green Eggs and Ham

Did you grow up hearing the tale of Sam-I-Am and green eggs and ham? To kids, this Dr. Seuss classic is just a fun book of silly rhymes. But rhyming is actually an important skill for reading. It teaches kids how language works.

When do kids learn to rhyme? Some get the idea of rhyming when they’re very young. Others need more time and extra help to develop this skill. Here’s when kids typically develop rhyming skills:

  • Age 3: Able to join in rhyming games
  • Age 4: Recognize words that rhyme
  • Kindergarten: Produce sounds that rhyme

After that, kids can usually come up with their own rhymes.

Rhyming requires kids to hear the sounds and syllables in words. Those are early reading skills that help kids decode (sound out) words.

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About the author

About the author

Tara Drinks is an editor at Understood.

Reviewed by

Reviewed by

Elizabeth Babbin, EdD is an instructional specialist at Lower Macungie Middle School in Macungie, Pennsylvania.