Yes, rime is a word, and it is not misspelled. A beginning reading program has been developed using rimes: words that sound and look alike. Rhymes as we are most familiar with sound alike, but do not always look alike. Using rimes such as at, pat, bat, cat, and sat, young readers can quickly learn a pattern teaching them many sight words quickly and easily. The program developed by Sara Hines, a university professor specializing in Learning Disabilities, and Lynn Klaiman, a first grade teacher, consists of twenty booklets containing simple sentences using the rime patterns. The program is structured to be used by young readers and older reader needing remediation. Each booklet reviews previous rimes and adds new ones. The rimes are color-coded to encourage readers to use visual similarities and differences to decode, a strategy used by successful readers. Words that are listed in black are not part of a rime family, but are high-frequency sight words. They are not necessary for the story. By helping your child to learn these words, you help the child build his sight vocabulary. By progressing through the booklets, students learn thirty-five common sight words and single syllable short vowel words from twenty word families (rimes) giving them forty-six high frequency works in their vocabulary allowing them to begin reading other simple books quickly building self-confidence and delight in reading.

Once your child knows most of the consonant sounds and can identify most letters, they are ready for the Rime to Read program. The program developers recommend for success that a parent follow the booklets in sequence since the booklets are cumulative. Read with a child each booklet until they can read the booklet alone with 90-95% accuracy. The developers recommend letting the student set the pace, but do not read more than one booklet in a session. Introduce the books at least a day apart, but no more than a week apart to ensure consistency in learning.

The program is simple in design allowing most students to learn quickly and easily, but if your child should struggle try slowing the pace and printing pages from the book of the rimes to make flash cards. Reviewing these flash cards frequently will help your child learn to recognize the patterns and retain them easily.

Now the choice is yours. The booklets are available for purchase at the Rime to Read web site. You can print them out or use them on a computer anywhere you can log into the internet. The best thing to do would be to save them to your computer. You can then print them out as you are ready to use them. However, each booklet should be used on the web site at least once because the developers have begun adding sound files of the rimes. Your student can click on the color-coded rimes on the reading side of each double page spread. Your child will then hear that word spoken which will quickly allow the child to learn each word because they can use more modalities or learning methods to access the word. They will read it, hear it, and say it out loud. This feature, though not completely finished at this publishing, is a great addition to the program making more use of the virtual capability of the program.

One autistic student of mine was given access to this program to see if it would click. We had noticed a fascination with computers, but have had to be careful what he is introduced to on the computers to prevent a fixation. We thought the Rime to Read program was worth a try, though. The student has been almost nonverbal up to this point. From the beginning, he was very fascinated with the word sounds and would click on every one. We were beginning to think it was a mistake, since he didn’t want us to actually read the book. He just wanted to click on the sounds. After going through a couple of booklets this way, we managed to get him to go back to the first one. To our surprise, he began reading the sentences out loud and on his own. We have been quite pleased with the results so far. The student has now read over half the booklets including the black words without sound files. Now I can’t promise this much success with every student and certainly not with other autistic children, but the premise is sound and easily taught by a parent. Rime to Read is a good way to start a joy for reading.

For more information, go to www.rimetoread.com. I have only one complaint about the web site, itself. You can’t get to a list of prices for the booklet set or partial packages without signing in first. Hopefully, they will fix this aspect soon. You get the first booklet free. Packets of 4 booklets are $9.99 each and all booklets purchased together is $49.99 each. That isn’t too bad, especially with the sound files added to the computer site making it more interactive. Try the free book out just to see!

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