Now between the meanings od words and their sounds there is ordinarily no discoverable relation except one of accident; and it is therefore miraculous, to the mystic, when words which make sense can also make a uniform objective structure of accents and rhymes. John Crowe Ransom

Some readers dislike rhyming stories and poems because they perceive them as a formal restriction of language: as a fence within which words must stand like obedient sheep. The poet is seen, I suppose, as a shepherd who does not allow them to graze outside the marked territory. Yes, rhyme could be understood as such: as a restriction of poetic freedoms and a worldwide restraint of language (as advocates and lovers of free verse tend to think). However, not every rhyme is the same and it is not fair to put them all in the same basket. Not every poet who writes in rhyme is a dictator who forces words to be where they don’t belong or obediently fit into a society of other words.

Rhymed picture book on tolerance and acceptance of diversity

There are good rhymes that place words where they belong, where they have never been before, and where they gain new meanings and roles. Good rhyme does not deprive words of freedom, but on the contrary, gives them new spaces of expression. We can recognize good rhymes by their wit and cleverness because they can make us laugh, as well as move, surprise, and delight us no matter how old we are. The role of parents who choose books is important in recognizing good rhyming stories and songs for their children. In doing so, they should pay attention to the fact that rhyme is not just a form and decoration, but should have aesthetic and literary value. That way, they will raise readers who will know how to recognize good literature and choose valuable books. In addition to contributing to the rhythmicity of children’s stories or poems, rhymes can have a major impact on children’s emotional and intellectual development.

1. Rhymed stories and poems develop the art of listening

The ability to listen is the most valuable communication skill. Being a good listener is often much more important than being a good speaker. We all know how hard it is sometimes to hold a child’s attention, but stories with rhyme miraculously make it work. Just as a night lamp attracts butterflies, so rhyme magnetically attracts the attention of a child who carefully absorbs the story and develops the skill of listening. And he who listens remembers.

2. Rhymed picture books and poems develop concentration and memory

Rhyme makes reading lines of a story or poem often memorable for life (who can forget Dr. Seuss?). It’s touching to hear grandparents who have forgotten a lot but still remember some rhymes and lullabies from their childhood. Children who can’t read yet often easily recite rhyming poems by heart and do so not only because these are very memorable, but the seed of rhyming words sown on the fertile fields of a child’s brain has deep roots and the winds of oblivion cannot easily pull them out.

3. Encourage creative thinking

Words are like chess pieces that can be found in countless combinations, and rhyme (if wise, ingenious, and witty) allows the reader to experience familiar words in a whole new manner. The writer’s unexpected verbal moves are a surprise and delight to the reader. As we read a rhyming poem or story to a child, the brain is not a passive consumer; it creates vivid images and places them with ease in the drawers of permanent memory. Rhyming stories and songs are thus reminiscent of a puzzle that a child pieces together by putting every word and every picture in its place.

4. Stories and poems with rhyme increase the desire to read

Although there are serious, thoughtful, and heartbreaking poems written in rhyme that is based on good old poetic tradition, rhyme in children’s literature is still associated with humorous and entertaining content. Such rhyming stories and songs lift the mood and bring a smile to the face; not only for children but also for the adults that read with them. When a book is fun for children, they will want to read it again, so humor and rhyme (as good old allies) encourage children to love reading from an early age.

It is good to know that even difficult topics can be written about in a humorous way with the aim of making them more accessible to children, for example, stories in rhyme that talk about animal rights in a way that will not emotionally burden children. It is good to read to children, but it is not always clear what we should read to them. The books we choose should follow children’s emotional and intellectual development. After all, we don’t give solid foods to a baby who is just starting to eat. Rhyme is that ingredient that makes the story more delicious by stimulating the appetite for reading.