Why rhyming matters for young readers

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Time to incorporate some rhythm and rhyme.
Time to incorporate some rhythm and rhyme.

Local online bookstore Ethnikids was founded by five moms set on empowering African children by making diverse reading materials easily accessible. Here founding member Khumo Tapfumaneyi talks rhyming and early literacy. 


Rhyme is extremely important in early literacy development, as it helps to engage young readers. There are numerous benefits to being exposed to nursery rhymes and rhyming books.

Skills such as the ability to listen and keep a steady beat are developed. Children also learn to retell and/or sing stories from a young age before they are able to read. 

They are able to compute rhyming sentences and identify words that don’t rhyme. This can lead to them inventing their own words or making up a string of rhymes – hence developing creativity and the ability to discern patterns.

Children’s early literacy skills are not just about reading and writing, but more about listening and speaking. It’s important for children to identify phonics, rhyming patterns and sounds in material.

We recommend adding some rhyme to your children’s reading repertoire with these fantastic local books. 

Mzansi Nursery Rhymes by Tumi Wessie

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This multilingual book that comes with an audio CD takes adults back to childhood with the songs we all grew up on, and is an opportunity for the young ones to learn the classics. 

Mpumi’s Magic Beads by Lebohang Masango

Book cover

A beautifully written and illustrated story about three schoolgirls and their adventures as they are transported by their friend Mpumi’s magical beads.

Wordsmith and poet Lebohang Masango keep the little ones captivated throughout the story with her clever use of rhyme.

Obnoxious Naledi and the Poppysmic Fairy by Tracy-Lee Easthorpe

Book cover

Tracy-Lee introduces children to complex, everyday words with her quirky Dr Seuss writing style.

The words that children are introduced to in this visual feast are ‘poppysmic’ - the sound one makes when you smack your lips together.

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