How to Effectively Teach Rhymes to Your French Primary Students

Teaching your French primary students how to rhyme as well as the importance of rhymes will give them a gift that they can use for the rest of their lives. Learning rhymes at a young age will provide them with a tool to better express themselves and help them understand their second language in a more creative way. They will learn that sounds, words and language can be FUN and it’s okay to play with them! Let’s explore why incorporating rhyme into your French classroom is so beneficial.

Want your students to become more fluent in French? Here's how teaching them about rhyming can help! Includes helpful tips and ideas for incorporating this into your lesson plans.

The Power of Rhyme

Rhyming is an essential part of learning any language, including French. It allows children to recognize patterns within words and sounds and helps build a foundation for reading and writing later on. Not only that, but it also adds some fun to the classroom by allowing children to play with words and sounds to practice their newfound understanding of rhymes.

Identifying and producing rhymes also uses lots of important brain power, as it requires our students to think critically about words and sounds while searching for similarities between them.

When teaching rhymes, you may want to start by introducing simple games like “I Spy” or “What Rhymes With…?” These activities are excellent ways to get your students engaged while still paying close attention to rhyming words.

It’s important to have fun with this! Don’t forget to add some music and rhyming stories into the mix—your students will love singing along with songs that use rhymes, and anticipating the next word in rhyming stories!

Practicing Rhymes

Once you’ve introduced your class to rhymes and how they work, it’s time to practice what they’ve learned! There are many different resources available in French where you can find engaging activities, worksheets, and even games centred around teaching children how to recognize, use, and produce their own rhymes.

Did you know that I actually have a FREE guide all about teaching rhymes en français? It goes into more detail than this blog post, and includes a variety of ideas for practicing rhymes whole group, small group, and during independent centres.

If you haven’t seen it yet and want to grab a copy, just CLICK HERE and fill out the form – I’ll send it straight to your inbox.

Want to help your French primary students identify and produce rhymes? Check out these tips and tricks, plus get a free downloadable guide!

Included in the guide is a free game that you can use with your students to help them practice rhyming.

The game is called Les mots dans un bateau, and you can read more about how it works below.

A Fun Game to Practice Rhymes

Les mots dans un bateau is super simple, but very effective. I usually use it during small group time, but I sometimes turn it into a whole group game as well.

The set includes six boats, each with a different image on the hull and four blank spaces.
There is also a page of images to cut out.

Students need to put four images in each boat – the four words that rhyme with the target image.

Want to help your French primary students identify and produce rhymes? Check out these tips and tricks, plus get a free downloadable guide and game!

I generally only play with 2-3 boats at a time, as 24 cards is a lot to handle at once.

When playing with a small group, I just lay the cards out on the table around the boats, get my students to name each target image a few times, and then they pick a card of their choice.

They say the word on the card and find the correct boat. Then another child picks a card. Easy peasy!

At the end, when the boats are full, we review the words in each boat to make sure that they all rhyme.

(If a student put a word in the incorrect boat, it is a lot easier for them to figure that out when listing a bunch of other words that all rhyme along with that word. It usually sticks out like a sore thumb!)

Playing the Rhyming Game Whole Group

I cut out my boats and laminated them, but you don’t have to cut them out first. I just prefer how they look cut out. I do suggest that you laminate for durability.

To play this game whole group, I pick two boats (and the eight corresponding cards). 

I put a T table on the board as well – one side for my points and one side for student points. 

I get points when students shout out an answer or are silly/not listening (NOT if a student answers incorrectly – they get unlimited tries)

Students get points when anyone puts a card in the correct boat (no matter how many tries it may take). 

I hold up a card, ask « est-ce que le mot riz rime avec lit ou avec bateau? ». Students raise their hand, I pick someone, and they come up and put in it the correct boat. 

If they are struggling I may say something like « hmmm…riz, lit, bateau. Quel mot ne rime pas? ». If they identify that bateau doesn’t rhyme, they know it goes with lit by process of elimination. 

Completing the Worksheet After the Rhyme Game

After the game, if my students win (which they always do, ha!), we play freeze dance for a couple of minutes, and then they complete an independent version of the sort (three such worksheets are included in the free download). 

Want to help your French primary students identify and produce rhymes? Check out these tips and tricks, plus get a free downloadable guide and game!

The sort that I get them to do independently is the exact same as the sort that we did together. I also allow them to use the whole-group sort to self check/self correct. 

This independent sort is a fantastic way for you to see who is really struggling – it should be no problem for most students after doing it as a class, and those who find it a challenge will be easy to spot.

The freebie also includes an “I Can” card, so you can even use this game as an independent centre!

Want this game for your own classroom? Getting your hands on it is easy! And FREE!

Les mots dans un bateau is included in my FREE French Guide for Teaching Rhymes.

To get your hands on it, just CLICK HERE, enter your info, and wait for the guide to hit your inbox.

Want to help your French primary students identify and produce rhymes? Check out these tips and tricks, plus get a free downloadable guide and game!


Teaching your French primary students the power of rhyme is an invaluable lesson in language development. By incorporating fun activities like “I Spy” or “Les mots dans un bateau” into your classroom lessons, you can help foster an environment where learning is made easier through fun and playfulness. Additionally, there are plenty of online resources available (like my free guide/game) if you want additional guidance when teaching this skill set or need ideas on how best to practice what has been learned.

So go ahead–give rhymes a try in your French classrooms today!

If you are looking for more French resources for rhymes…

I have lots! Check out these to start:

French Rhyme Posters

These posters are squares to save on space. Each one features a variety of words that rhyme AND have the same spelling!

Rhyming Worksheets

This resource includes 20 different rhyming worksheets to provide your students with the opportunity to practice independently.

The Ultimate Rhyming Bundle

If you are looking for lots of French rhyming resources, this bundle is the way to go! It includes EVERY French rhyming resource I’ve ever made… and every one I ever will make as well.

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