What are onset and rime?

CCSS ELA Literacy K-2, Foolproof Phonics App, ELA K-2, ELA Kindergarten, ELA 1st Grade, ELA 2nd Grade



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The onset of a word is its initial sound and the rime is the string of letters that follows, as in m-ilk, where m is the onset and ilk is the rime.

Teaching children to blend and segment the onsets and rimes of words builds their phonological awareness -- their understanding of sounds in a language. Understanding sounds in words is an important first step for children to learn how to read. This is because they need an awareness of the sounds that make up words before they are able to connect these sounds to letters.

Another similar activity that also builds phonological awareness are segmenting and blending the syllables of multisyllabic words.

For example, in shop, the onset is sh and the rime is op: sh-op. Shop has the same onset as ship, but it has a different rime: sh-ip.

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Foolproof Phonics Part 1

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Here’s our quick-start guide to using Mrs Wordsmith’s resources with Google Classroom, Seesaw, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams.

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Deep Dive

Phonics is the method that helps children build systematic connections between letters and sounds. Phonics has a better impact on children’s reading ability than any other type of reading program. It has also been shown to improve spelling, particularly among kindergarteners and first graders.

To find out more, read our Deep Dive into Phonics report. This report provides an easy-to-understand overview of phonics and phonemic awareness - why they are important and how they are taught in the classroom - and explains all the relevant terminology. It's perfect for sharing with colleagues, friends, and to Google Classroom!


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