Making Musical Links with Literacy

I love making music with kids aged 3-6, especially pairing music with early literacy learning, which is a natural fit.

I once taught at a preschool where the director told me: “Just have fun singing with the kids,” implying that they’d pick up the literacy learning elsewhere in their day. I understand what she meant, but she missed the point. Childhood music and early literacy are so intertwined that it’s hard to make music with young children without touching upon key literacy skills.

Consider the topic of rhythm. Rhythm is a part of language, just as it’s part of music. Many music teachers incorporate syllable segmentation into their lessons by having students clap their names or tap words on a drum. Musical rhythm becomes interchangeable with language rhythm. Just as they segment musical phrases, children hear and understand multi-syllable words in chunks that can be sounded out and broken into smaller elements.

Or consider another activity we often do with young children: saying a familiar rhyme and letting the child fill in a rhyming end word. For example: Patty cake, patty cake, baker’s man. Bake me a cake as fast as you ___ (the child fills in can). Songs and nursery rhymes are a natural vehicle for children to hear, express and initiate rhyming words, thus distinguishing vowel sounds and building phonological awareness.

On any given day, my music lesson includes songs that perfectly complement the other literacy activities during the child’s day at school. Here are some of those elements:

A finger play song such as “Tommy Thumb is Up” incorporates sequencing and characters, building children’s insight into the elements of stories. I use a glove puppet and give each character distinct personality traits, including the contrary “Ruby Ring.”

Finger plays also build manual dexterity as children work toward handwriting skills. Here’s a link to a recording of this song, although you should note that I have different names for some of the fingers in this song: Tommy Thumb, Penny Pointer, Toby Tall, Ruby Ring and Pinky Finger.

My version of “The Muffin Man” engages children with starting letter sounds in verses about “Muffin Man,” the “Lemonade Lady,” the “Cookie Cat” and the “Donut Dog,” to name a few. I add visuals by using a sign with key words and a picture for each verse.

 

“Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey” gives students a chance to hear and guess rhymes by connecting a word to a rhyming body part (sand-hand, tree-knee, hoe-toe, track-back).   I use spoon puppets to engage children visually and create a sense of fun.

Movement activities, always part of my music lessons, have many literacy links. When children imitate caterpillars and butterflies on my song “If I Were a Butterfly,” they build their understanding of a sequenced nonfiction narrative.

If they act out my musical version of “The Tortoise and the Hare” to learn about tempo, they’re getting a taste of the fable genre and building understanding that all stories have a beginning, middle and end. They might develop a similar understanding by acting out my “Three Little Pigs” song, described in another post on this blog.

I love language, stories and poems, so to me, the literacy element has special appeal in music lesson planning. Musical concepts on their own, even for young children, can be somewhat abstract. Literacy content grounds the music lesson in the familiar world. At a workshop with Andy Davis of New England Dancing Masters, he talked about telling stories to introduce new songs to young children. He understands the connection that children naturally make with a good storyteller or a book, which often can lead into a song.

The reverse is also true. A song can get children’s attention on a literacy topic. A teacher can begin a lesson on rhyming words having the children join in singing a rhyming song. My songs on word families, sound segmentation and syllable clapping are a natural lead-in to spoken lessons on those topics, especially once the kids know the songs and can sing along and even help compose their own verses. You can find most of the literacy songs I’ve mentioned on my download album, Songs for Rhyming and Reading. I just added two new rhyming songs to this album, so be sure to check it out!

My first love in teaching is music, but I firmly believe in all the connections that music can make to everything else in a child’s world. The connection with emergent reading is a total natural!

Singing is the Best Way to Learn to Rhyme!

IMG_2205This school year, I have the pleasure of teaching music to 120 kindergarten students at the newly-opened KIPP elementary school in Lynn, MA. Our school will add a grade each year, so for now, we are all K! It’s great fun.

One of the first literacy skills kindergarteners need to master is rhyming. Distinguishing rhyming words helps emergent readers hear distinct vowel sounds as well as ending consonants, which are the same in each rhyme, and beginning consonants, which change from word to word.

Children with great preparation in preschool or at home already may know about rhymes, but some children still struggle with the concept in kindergarten, especially English Language Learners. Everyone benefits from a review.

One of the best ways to learn about rhymes is – music! I’ve already posted about these rhyming songs, but here is a reminder of some of my favorites.

My version of Dr. Knickerbocker (the lyrics are in this link, to my Songs for Teaching page) is a terrific wiggle break and provides work on counting down as well as rhyming.  Below are the rhyming pairs of words as you count down in the song. You can review them before the activity, or just have the children call out the rhyme at the appropriate time in the song. You can also do this as a chant if you don’t want to sing.

Nine – fine

Eight – late

Seven – heaven

Six – fix

Five – hive

Four – door

Three – tree

Two – shoe

One – fun

The basic structure of the song is:

Hey, Dr. Knickerbocker, number nine, it’s a great day and I’m feeling fine.

Oh, let’s feel the rhythm in our hips, our hips, let’s feel the rhythm in our hips.

This link will give you the rest of the lyrics.

Click the links below for more of my favorite rhyming songs:

Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey

Animal Rhyming Words (especially great paired with the book, A Hunting We Will Go, adapted by John Langstaff).

Down By the Bay

Ants in My Pants (another great wiggle, by Johnette Downing)

Making the Music & Reading Connection

Singing in the classroom can have a strong connection to enhanced early literacy skills.

Singing in the classroom can have a strong connection to enhanced early literacy skills.

Many academic studies have shown a strong connection between musical activities and early literacy learning. One study that especially interests me is detailed in “Early Language Learning With and Without Music,” by Douglas Fisher, published in Reading Horizons in 2001.

The study evaluated four classrooms of students in kindergarten and first grade. The students were all English Language Learners who spoke Spanish at home. Two of the classrooms began the day with a song and added particular musical activities to reading instruction time, while the other two did not. The students in the classrooms that used music scored higher on reading assessments.

Most of the preschool and kindergarten teachers I meet understand the power of music for their students, but they often don’t know how best to use music to enhance student learning. Most early-reading curricula give some lip-service to singing (no pun intended). A song may come with each week’s lesson plans, but the song seems an afterthought and not that engaging. To put it nicely, these songs aren’t destined for the top 40.

In the Fisher study, the songs seemed more integral to the lessons, as though each lesson would lose its heart without the song. For instance, in one activity, the children had to find a mystery word in scrambled letters. For the classes using music, the mystery word was a song title, and when the students discovered the mystery, the teacher would play a recording of the song. As one teacher commented, “See how they love to find the mystery word? They know we’re going to sing a song and that the CD with the words will be available in the classroom library after we learn it. The connections they make are great. They know the words because we sang together. On their own, they get to see the words in print and hear them over and over again.”

As I’ve worked as a teaching artist in kindergarten classrooms, I’ve had teachers ask for particular songs to work on certain skills. The teachers (and their students) were tired of rote chanting of letter sounds and rhyming word families: B-Buh-Baseball and fat-cat-sat-mat. I was able to make musical connections that made the lessons more engaging for both teachers and students.

I’d love to see more teachers trying these songs in their classrooms. In my collection, Songs for Rhyming and Reading, there are songs for clapping syllables of words, emphasizing starting consonants, reciting long and short vowels, guessing rhymes and making word families. You can find this collection and many other early literacy-related songs on my page at Songs for Teaching.

For instance, in my song “Animal Hand-Clapping Rap,” students can learn about interesting creatures such as a cockatoo or coatimundi while clapping syllables. Teachers can change the pace by using the same song featuring food words. This link goes to an article with more musical syllable clapping ideas: http://www.antelopedance.com/phonological-awareness/musical-fun-with-syllable-clapping/

The rhyme-guessing songs can turn rhyming skill learning into a game. In “Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey,” kids guess rhyming body parts.

In “I Like My Hat,” students have a chance to expand the song into a writing activity about their favorite hat color. They’re invited to make up rhyming lines such as “My hat is blue, I stick it on with glue,” or “My hat is yellow, I wear it and say hello!” There’s also a chance to be creative and color a fancy hat. You can find more about these songs here: http://www.antelopedance.com/phonological-awareness/more-fun-songs-for-rhyming-reading/

In “Vowel Jamboree,” students sing long and short vowel sounds, rather than simply reciting them. It adds extra fun to letter sound lessons. For starting consonant sounds, teachers can try the classic “Muffin Man” with many added verses for other starting consonant sounds.

These songs are simple but fun, and just might take some of the drudgery out of phonological awareness learning. And they might help improve those assessment scores!

‘Today is Monday’ Teaches Weekdays & More

IMG_1279I’ve been on a hiatus from this blog because I started a new job this summer. I’m helping found a KIPP charter elementary school in Lynn, MA. I’m the music teacher for the school’s 120 new kindergarten students. Each year the school will add a grade, up through fourth grade.

Later, I’ll post more about my experiences at KALE (KIPP Academy Lynn Elementary). For now, I’m re-posting about a song that helps teach one of the first topics in kindergarten: days of the week.

The standard fallback songs for learning the weekdays are the Adams Family “Days of the Week” or the “Oh, My Darling” version. My friends who teach preschool and kindergarten probably can’t get these out of their heads. I have a fun alternative: the “Today is Monday” song, from my album Singing All the Way Home. You can find this album and many other songs for literacy at my Songs for Teaching site.

This traditional song has become very popular, thanks in part to Eric Carle’s engaging book by the same name. The book features a different food for each day of the week. I’m not the first person to suggest emphasizing initial consonant sounds by naming a food that starts with the same letter as each weekday.

When I sing the song, I first lay out the verses using a card for each day of the week, featuring a photograph of the food that starts with the same letter. The cards will help the class remember the lyrics for each day of the week.

To vary the activity, the teacher can ask class members to think up other foods that start with the same letter. For Monday, class members might choose mango or macaroni; for Tuesday, tacos or tuna. You could create a small poster for each day that features all the different foods with the same starting letter. For centers, you could create a card game in which students would place their food words on the correct day of the week.

You could also vary this song by thinking of some other category of words and finding a word in that category that has the same starting letter as each weekday. Let’s say your category is animals. You can change the final line of each verse to: “All you lucky children, come and sing a song” or “All you lucky children, going to the zoo.”   Below is a chart showing the food words from my recording, as well as animal words.

 

Day of the week Food word Animal word
Monday Mashed potatoes Monkey
Tuesday Tomatoes Turtle
Wednesday Waffles Woodchuck
Thursday Turkey Tiger (or turkey again!)
Friday Fresh fruit Frog
Saturday Salad Snake
Sunday Spaghetti Stork

Learning and rewriting a song such as this one is a great way to invite children’s participation in brainstorming about letter sounds. The class can also create its own version of Eric Carle’s book, using the new class-created lyrics.

 

Two Fun Songs for Pre-Reading!

Easy finger-play glove!

Easy finger-play glove!

This past week, I have had the chance to visit some of the children and families from the school where I’ll be working as a music teacher this fall. Many of the parents are so excited and eager for their children to learn, especially for them to learn to read.

Most children learn to read between ages five and seven, but there are many things parents can do to prepare even the youngest children for becoming readers when the time comes. The most important is taking time to read with children every day. Being introduced to books on the lap of a parent or another beloved caregiver is one of the most important ways to help a child learn to love reading.

Parents and caregivers can also build important pre-reading skills through singing, chanting rhymes, and doing finger plays with children.

Here are two songs that I shared at our July 17 Do-Re-Mi ABC time at the Wild Child store in Arlington. The first is a simple counting song that involves counting on your fingers. Finger plays help build children’s small motor skills, which develops the muscles used in important skills such as handwriting. The counting activity is a great way to practice counting down and subtracting. You can start each verse with fingers up in the air for the number of apples in the tree, then shake and wiggle your hands (or your whole body) in the middle of the song, and then tap your hand on the ground “boom” when each apple falls down.

Five Red Apples

Nursery Song & Finger Play;   Tune: Twinkle, Twinkle/ABC

Five red apples in an apple tree,

The reddest apples you ever did see.

So we shook that tree, and wiggled around,

And one red apple came tumbling down.

Now, how many apples are there? Four!

Repeat the song, each time taking away one apple from the tree.

When I sing this song, I use a glove with five cardboard red apples taped onto the fingers and thumb. Finger puppet gloves are so simple to make, and children adore them!

Photo on 2011-11-30 at 08.10Children also love my spoon puppets, Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey. If you would like to learn this song, you can find out more about it in this video. The great thing about this song is it works at various levels. For very young children and older kids just learning English, this song teaches about body parts. It also invites children to think of rhyming words. So if you say, “Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey played in the hose,” the child would guess that the rhyming body part is “nose” or “toes.”

Here are the words:

Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey, they went out one day.

Said Icky Sticky to Ooey Gooey, “Won’t you come and play?”

So Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey, they played in the sand.

But Icky Sticky got stuck to Ooey Gooey’s….. HAND!

1-2-3 Unstick!   Boop! (pull apart)

 

Other verses:

They climbed up a tree … knee

They played in the snow … toe

They went to a farm … arm

They played by the track … back

If you don’t have time to make spoon puppets, you can always have your pointer fingers play the parts of Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey.

Parents & Children Can Sing Into Reading

We sang about the Muffin Man!

We sang about the Muffin Man!

This morning, I offered a toddler version of my “Do-Re-Mi ABC” program that I’ve been enjoying with kindergarten students this year. At our local store that sells tots’ clothing and other fun kids’ stuff, I did a sing-along workshop for parents and children about how to have fun singing while building early literacy skills.

We talked not only about enjoying musical basics such as singing and tapping a regular beat, but sounding out letter sounds and building small motor skills through finger plays. We talked about singing favorite songs often, so that children learn them and feel comfortable vocalizing. Here are some activities/songs on my agenda for the morning:

Goal: Provide a sampling of music/movement activities that parents and children can do together in order to share the joy of music and develop building blocks of language & literacy

Emphasis on:

  • Language development
  • Vocalizing/singing
  • Music skills development, such as keeping a steady beat and fast & slow tempos
  • Physical – fine & gross motor skills development
  • Social-emotional skill development

The Songs:

  1. Hello song!
  2. Name Song – Hello, Name (to Goodnight ladies)
  3. Banana song (on my album Once Upon a Tune)
  4. The Wheels on the Bus – a song that most young children learn to sing and move to
  5. Itsy Bitsy Spider – common nursery rhymes involve small motor skill development
  6. Finger Family – more small motor skills
  7. Horsie, Don’t You Stop – keep a steady beat with my horse’s clip-clop!
  8. The Muffin Man – letter sounds, classic song – tried and true
  9. Little Red Caboose – slow & fast, steady beat, vocalizing (woo-woo!), using shakers & tambourine
  10. Chugga-Chugga Ding Ding – steady beat, shakers & tambourine (on my CD, Make It a Song, Song, Song)
  11. Two Little Robins – rhymes, letter sounds, vocabulary – use of simple visuals (on my CD, Once Upon a Tune)
  12. This Little Light of Mine or other upbeat song – songs from our culture
  13. The Lion Sleeps Tonight – shakers (on my CD, Make It a Song, Song, Song)

We calmed down with Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star and a good-bye song. We also found time to do THE ANTELOPE DANCE! Fun morning!

I will be back at the Wild Child store for another “workshop” on Friday, July 17, at 10:30. Be sure to contact owner Erica Walker to sign up at join us.

A Robin Song for Musical Fun & Literacy

Photo on 5-4-15 at 10.53 AMHere is a finger-play and simple literacy activity that’s especially fun to do in the spring when you hear lots of birds singing. My “Two Little Robins” song is based on the traditional nursery rhyme and finger play that’s often called “Two Little Blackbirds.”

This song is on my CD Once Upon a Tune, available through CDBaby or Songs for Teaching. You can see a video of how I use the song at this link. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ6c9Tru9FM

Below are the lyrics and the connections to literacy learning.

Two Little Robins

Traditional children’s rhyme. Tune & additional lyrics by Liz Buchanan.

Two little robins, sitting in the tree

One named Rob and one named Ree.

Fly Away, Rob, fly away, Ree.

Come back, Rob, come back, Ree.

Tweet tweet tweet …

Two little bunnies, sitting on the hill

One named Bob, one named Bill.

Hop away, Bob, hop away, Bill.

Come back, Bob, come back, Bill.

Hop hop hop …

Two little fishies, swimming in the sea

One named Fred and one named Fee.

Swim away, Fred, swim away Fee.

Come back, Fred, come back Fee.

Glub glub glub … splash!

 

Here are some ways this song can help build early literacy skills:

1. Rhyming. Nursery songs and rhymes are perfect for helping children hear and learn about rhyming sounds. With this rhyme, you can talk with children about how ‘tree’ and ‘Ree’  and ‘hill’ and ‘Bill’ sound alike, and discuss what sound is in both of those words.

2. Consonant Sounds. This song helps with learning about the sounds of the consonants R, B and F.  In each verse, the names of the creatures start with the same letters; for example, R is the beginning letter for robin, Rob and Ree. Articulate the sound of the letter with the children and then say the words in the rhyme that start with the letter.

3. Letter recognition. Use a simple stick puppet with the word and letter of each creature, or write out the words on a card. Discuss each starting letter and its sound.

You can create stick puppets with tongue depressors and pictures of the creatures, which are easy to find in books or online. My robin pictures come from the beautifully illustrated book Over in the Meadow by John Langstaff, illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky. Add the word itself and the featured consonant for letter sound learning.

You can expand this song to include many other birds and creatures with their initial consonant sounds. I’ve posted more ideas here at The Children’s Music Network’s blog: http://blog.cmnonline.org/2013/09/23/a-tale-of-two-robins/

Here are some learning activities that connect to the song:

Matching Birds and Sea Creatures – Create cards with a picture of each bird and sea creature in the expanded song (above). On each card print the letter and the type of creature. Mix them up and ask children to find matching pairs. You can play this as a “Concentration” matching game.

Stick puppets – Create stick puppets for the creatures similar to the ones in the photo. Encourage children to act out the song with the puppets.

Auditory Learning – Online, you can find recordings of different bird songs for the different species of birds in this song. Listen to the recording of each bird’s song as you look at a picture of that bird.

Movement Play – For a gross motor activity, act out each creature in the song with a movement. Flap arms to be a bird, hop to be a bunny, do swimming motions to be a fish.

Outdoor Activity – Go bird watching! How many different kinds of birds can you find as you take a walk around the neighborhood? What do you notice about the birds’ behavior? Talk about what birds eat and their habitats. Discuss the life cycle of birds.

Have fun with all the sounds of nature in the spring!

Musical Fun with Syllable Clapping

IMG_0229Hearing and feeling the natural rhythm of a language is an important part of learning to speak and read fluently. The Spelling City website points out that “syllables play an important role in spoken English, in that they greatly influence the rhythm of the language, its poetic meter and its stress patterns. As the basic units of speech sounds, syllables are often considered the phonological building blocks of words.”

Because singing and music involve rhythm, they can be the ideal tools for helping children segment syllables and decode words. The authors of The Music and Literacy Connection write that music teachers “work with children at the syllable level from the very beginning. This may be the reason that some children enjoy music and singing from music texts even when they struggle with traditional reading activities that require decoding …” (2007)

Several musical activities can help children reach this all-important understanding of syllables. Children can start clapping rhythmic rhymes and and sounding out syllables even before they start reading – they’ll be that much further along in their understanding when the time comes to decode the words.

One of my favorite games involves getting children to tap the syllables of their names on a drum. This activity is popular for both musical and literacy education. Even children who don’t initially get the concept of syllables soon learn to tap their own names accurately and even to accent the syllables properly.

I play the syllable name game with children standing in a circle. I walk around the circle with my drum and sing to the tune of “Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush.”

I’m glad we came to school today, school today, school today

I’m glad we came to school today. Can you tap your name?

If you’re not in school, you can always sing, “I’m glad that we can sing today … “

Reinforce the syllable segments by having all the children echo and clap each person’s name.

My “Hand-Clapping Rap” songs, with animals and food words, are another way to encourage syllable clapping. I’ve made cards for all the words with the text and a picture. The multisyllable words have each syllable underlined in a different color. These are available on my Songs for Teaching page and on my CD, Singing All the Way Home.

Lately, I’ve seated my kindergarten students in a circle and passed out the words in the order that they come up in the song. Each student ends up with three words, and I put the remaining ones on the floor in front of me. Before we start, I ask the students to put all of the one-syllable words on the floor in front of them, and to set the other words aside. They need their hands available for clapping. I do the same for each group of words.

A fun activity is to have kids sort the words by the number of syllables. You can also print out coloring pages of animals and have kids write the words and underline the syllables in different colors.

Still another song/chant that explores syllables is the Spanish “Cho-co-la-te” rhyme made popular by Dora the Explorer. We’ve been doing this one lately with rhythm sticks. You can find out more about that song on YouTube or at this site.

If you have other songs and musical activities that feature syllable clapping, I hope you’ll let me know.

Singing about Families – of Words!

IMG_2205A couple of years ago, some kindergarten teachers asked me to write a song about word families, and I was happy to oblige. The result was a simple song that keeps being rewritten again and again, by children in PreK through First Grade. Making up verses for this song is a lot of fun, plus the finished product becomes a guessing game as well as a song.

Word families are groups of words that have exactly the same endings but different starting letters. Richard Wylie and Donald Durrell identified the 37 most common endings of word families in English: ack, ain, ake, ale, all, ame, an, ank, ap, ash, at, ate, aw ay, eat, ell, est, ice, ick, ide, ight, ill, in, ine, ing, ink, ip, it, ock, oke, op, ore, ot, uck ,ug, ump, unk. (Richard E. Wylie and Donald D. Durrell, 1970. “Teaching Vowels Through Phonograms.” Elementary English 47, 787-791.) The link to the complete list is here.

Why learn about word families? Because rhyming words are one of the best ways for children to start hearing and identifying distinct vowel sounds. Looking at the text of word families, children can easily see matching letter patterns and soon will be sounding out words in the same family.

Here are the lyrics to my original version of the song.  You can download it at Songs for Teaching.

Word Families

By Liz Buchanan

I’m thinking of a word, it’s top top top

Popping popcorn with a pop pop pop

All the bunny rabbits go hop hop hop

And if you don’t go, you stop stop stop.

 

Chorus:  Word families, word families

What’s the next word, can you tell me please?

I’m learning to read, learning with ease

‘Cause I know word families.

 

I’m thinking of a word, it’s tap tap tap

Put my hands together with a clap clap clap

All the birdies’ wings go flap flap flap

Just don’t wake the baby from her nap nap nap. Chorus

 

I’m thinking of a word, it’s pit pit pit

If I don’t stand, I’ll sit sit sit

My clothes are too tight they don’t fit fit fit

The lights are on, they’re lit lit lit. Chorus

Many more verses have been created since the original. Once you’ve sung a few verses and know the basic structure of the song, you’re ready to invite children to help construct new verses. The challenge is to stay within the rhythm of the song. This is a great activity for beginning a songwriting process with children, as it helps them understand essential elements of both rhyme and rhythm. Here is a link to a related post on this blog about word families and songwriting.

I have used more complex word families to write the song with first graders, including words ending in ight, atch, old, est and ink. Kindergarteners stick with more basic combos, such as at and it. I had a group of four-year-olds last year who loved this song, too. Most were pre-readers, but their favorite thing was taking turns using the pointer and pointing to the words on my Word Families poster. The class had been doing a unit on Dr. Seuss and I started singing this song after I saw word families stuck up on the wall in the classroom.

The Common Core standards require students to “recognize and produce rhyming words.” Songs and chanted poems are by far the most fun and engaging way to accomplish this important task. You will not go wrong with this song!

Raiders of the Lost Bark

SCN_0025During studies for my master’s degree at Lesley University, I had an opportunity to take a class on early literacy learning with Professor Jean Ciborowsky Fahey. Jean works closely with a group called Reach Out and Read, a non-profit organization that partners with pediatricians’ offices to encourage reading-related activities for very young children.

Jean enthusiastically encourages parents and early childhood teachers to play literacy games regularly – daily if possible – with their young children and students. You can play these games anywhere – the breakfast table, on the way to school, the supermarket line or the playground line. One game involves taking apart compound words. For instance, children might be asked:

Say “something.” Say it again without the “thing.”  Some.

Say “pinwheel.”  Say it again without the “pin.”  Wheel.

Say “motorcycle.”  Say it again without the “cycle.” Motor.

Games can also help children learn to separate out the onset and rime; that is, the initial consonant sound of the word (onset) and the remaining vowel and consonant sounds (rime). The child could be asked:

Say run.  Say it again without the ‘r.’

Say dog.  Say it again without the ‘d.’

Say find. Say it again without the ‘f.’

By learning to separate the starting sound from those that follow, the child begins to understand the families of words that have the same ending sounds.  Reading the words in the families becomes that much easier, as cat, fat, mat, bat, rat and sat all have the same end letters, just different beginnings. I’ve written a Word Families song – click the link and you can check it out on my Songs for Rhyming and Reading at Songs for Teaching.

What follows is silly song that invites children to play with beginning and ending sounds.  Make a flash card for each of the words, and separate the beginning sound from the rest of the word.  Have different letters available to form the nonsense words.  Ask a children to pick out the correct letter to begin the word.

My Dog Lost the ‘B’ from Her Bark  Tune: “If You’re Happy and You Know It”

By Liz Buchanan

Oh my dog lost the B from her bark (repeat)

My dog lost the B from her bark bark bark

Now all she can say is “Ark!”

 

Until she found a “G” and went “Gark”

Oh, then she found an “S” and went “Sark”

Oh, what she really needs is a B you see

Please find a B for me.

 

Oh my cow lost the M from her moo …

Now all she can say is “oo”

 

My turkey lost the G from her gobble

Now all she can say is “obble”

 

My Frog lost the R from his ribbet

Now all he can say is “ibbet.”