Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog

Rhyme Time with the Meanies!

We all love Joy Cowley—her stories feature engaging characters, funny plots, and timeless illustrations. Best of all, Joy’s books are specially written to help your students read! 

Those Yucky Meanies! from the Joy Cowley Collection, leveled at Guided Reading Level H, contains rhyming words throughout the book. Rhyming always leads to a rhythmical read-aloud experience, and it also strengthens a student’s sound-symbol correspondence as they realize that certain sounds are represented by a certain string of letters. A familiarity with rhymes also allows young writers to spell by analogy. For example, if a child wants to write “shape,” recognizing that the word rhymes with “cape” will lead the child to the correct spelling.


While reading aloud, pause after the penultimate word of the sentence to encourage students to chime in with the rhyming word. For example, on page 6, read: “It will smell. It will make you feel... [together] unwell.”

The rhyming words in Those Yucky Meanies! are listed include the following:

  • mucky and yucky
  • lunch and crunch
  • smell and well
  • grimy and slimy
  • run and fun
  • lands and hands
  • swamp and chomp
  • nose and clothes

The last two rhyming pairs sound the same, but are spelled differently. (You might even argue, depending on which English dialect you speak, that “swamp” and “chomp” are slant rhymes, but this term isn’t necessary to teach in lower elementary grades.)

Point out to your students that rhyming words don’t need to be spelled the same way—sometimes the same sound it spelled differently, like “nose” and “clothes.” Note that this definition doesn’t apply for rime (not rhyme) chunks, which require the words to have identical spellings.

Discussing rhyming words will help your students become better readers and writers. Reading Joy Cowley isn’t just fun—it brings learning into the classroom, too!


Click the images below to learn more about The Meanies and the Joy Cowley Collection.