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Rhythm and Rhyming


Students will learn about rhythm.



Additional Resources


  • Month-by-Month Poetry: September, October & November, Grades PreK-2, by Marian Reiner; ISBN 0-590-37898-8
  • Month-by-Month Poetry: December, January & February, Grades PreK-2, by Marian Reiner; ISBN 0-590-37900-3
  • Month-by-Month Poetry: March, April, May & June, Grades PreK-2, by Marian Reiner; ISBN 0-590-37903-8
  • Mother Goose Phonics, Grades K-2, by Deborah Schecter; ISBN 0-439-12927-3


  • Learning From Poems & Rhymes. Parent & Child, Vol. 12 No. 3, 32. Neuman, S. B. (2004, November/December).

Additional Media

Background for Teachers


Be familiar with the musical definition of “rhythm” as defined on the UEN The Music Factory video segment on rhythm. Definition: Rhythm is the oldest form of music. It encompasses the elements of beat or pulse, accent, pattern and tempo.

Option: Teach this lesson as a follow up to a previous lesson on rhythm in which you show the UEN video segment on rhythm.

Note: Use the syllables to create different rhythms of a name, e.g., Q=quick; S=slow

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. Demonstrate a positive learning attitude.
6. Communicate clearly in oral, artistic, written, and nonverbal form.

Instructional Procedures

Invitation to Learn
Write the teacher’s name (Mrs./Ms./Mr. ________) on the board. Clap a rhythm for the name. Model various ways to hear the rhythm using body percussion (snapping, clapping, or stomping).

Instructional Procedures

  1. Teach your choice of a monthly poem to the students by having them read and clap with you the natural rhythm of the words.

Hall-o-ween, Hall-o-ween
Witch-es, pump-kins,
Scary things are seen.
Soon it will be

  1. Teach students how rhythm is notated using ‘sticks’ rather than notes (see example). Using the dry erase marker, draw the notation for each word on the laminated poem by clapping the rhythm one line at a time, then notating using ‘S=slow’ and ‘Q=quick’ notations.

  1. Demonstrate how to read and perform by clapping the rhythm of the ‘sticks’ notation. Teach the students the rhythm one line at a time by clapping the rhythm, then have students repeat it.
  2. After you have informally assessed the students’ ability and understanding based on their clapping performance, provide them with rhythm sticks.
  3. Demonstrate the correct way to use the sticks, then ask for a student volunteer to demonstrate to the whole class. Pass out the sticks to a small group of students who will demonstrate as well. While the students with the rhythm sticks are demonstrating, allow the rest of the class to clap the rhythm to ensure participation from all students.
  4. Continue with a series of demonstrations using small groups of students until all students have experienced the rhythm sticks.
  5. Pass out rhythm sticks to all students. Under your direction, have them practice the poem. Monitor each student’s performance. You may want to have students perform for the class in small groups, or have a performance contest between the groups.
  6. Refer again to the teacher’s name. Model the rhythmic notation of the name by clapping the rhythm. Choose some random names (not names of your students). Model how to notate and perform the various rhythms several more times.
  7. Instruct students to write their own name, notate the rhythm, then practice a way to perform it using snapping, clapping, or stomping.
  8. Pass out paper. Monitor the students as they write, notate, and practice.


Language Arts

  • Introduce a shared writing activity using the poem to replace certain words with other words that rhyme. Let the students come up with the words, even if they are nonsense words.

Content Core

  • Teach the same lesson using a different poem and a new rhythm instrument.

Hint: Only introduce one new instrument at a time, modeling specific rules and procedures for using that instrument.

  • Students draw pictures of items in the poem. Glue illustrations on popsicle sticks or paint sticks to use in a performance.
  • Students act out the parts/characters in the poem as a whole class or in small groups. They could also create an action or rhythmic pattern for each word or phrase.
  • Teach a nursery rhyme song and perform using instruments.

Family Connections

  • Have students teach family members about rhythm using pots, pans, and spoons as instruments.
  • As students are listening to music at home or in a car, encourage them to use their hands as rhythm instruments. Listen for and find the beat in the music and/or the rhythm for the syllables in the words.

Assessment Plan

  • An informal observation assessment can be done during the lesson as the students practice the rhythm of the poem and read the notations.
  • Students notate the rhythm of their own name and perform the rhythm using body percussion and/or instruments.


Research Basis

Rogers, N. (2003). Improving Students’ Literacy through the Use of Rhythm and Rhyme. Illinois. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED 479865)

This research study focuses on first grade students who read below grade level. It focuses on rhythm and rhyme to increase reading skills. The students’ knowledge of letters and sounds improved, which increased confidence in their reading ability.

Created: 09/21/2005
Updated: 01/19/2018