I noticed that an inordinate number of children's books use a rhyming scheme. Is there a scientific reason for it, or is it simply to sound pleasing to the ear?

asked 27 Dec '09, 05:17

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Matthew Jones
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I think all parents observe that young kids can notice and be amused by patterns like rhyme or music long before they understand language. So the stories may rhyme simply because that lets younger kids enjoy it without needing to understand fully what it means.

My mother (who is a speech pathologist) told me during my son's early language development that a big part of what they (the kids) are doing is figuring out how language works and the sounds from which speech is put together. She was very pleased when my son started noticing that certain words rhymed, it meant he was deconstructing the words into sounds and understanding which ones are similar, that there are a finite set of them, that rearranging the sounds makes new words, and so on.

I suspect that books that have strong rhyming are tapping into / strengthening this early decoding of the way that language works. Also the patterning of the rhyme may make it easier for early language-learners to find word and sentence boundaries, whereas full speech tends to just be a blur until you're starting to get fluent (as we all know when listening to a language we don't understand).

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answered 27 Dec '09, 07:14

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lgritz
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+1 for pointing out "deconstructing words into sounds and understanding which are similar" My daughter used to do this too!

(27 Dec '09, 11:47) Emi
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Asked: 27 Dec '09, 05:17

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Last updated: 27 Dec '09, 07:14