Start School with Songs for Literacy

Kindergarten children have a blast singing for literacy!

The days are ticking down to the beginning of school. I hope all teachers of young children are excited to get everyone learning right away with … SONGS!

If anyone needs a reminder about the value of music in early learning, here’s why music is an ideal tool, especially for teaching literacy skills:

-Music orients children to the rhythms and sounds of language, and is especially useful for hearing distinct rhyming vowels and starting consonant sounds. Research shows children often learn these skills better using songs!

-Songs, like books, help build vocabulary.

-Music and movement are working many parts of the brain simultaneously, thus stimulating brain development and especially helping build the areas of the brain oriented toward music, language and the sense of hearing.

-Music develops skills such as keeping a steady beat and imitating rhythm patterns, which have been shown by research to be connected to success in future reading skills.

-Many songs naturally draw children into learning about patterns and sequences, useful in both math and literacy learning.

-Songs with movements or sign language teach children to substitute a symbol/movement for a language concept.

-Finger plays build manual dexterity, important for learning handwriting.

-Music/singing is a non-competitive activity that helps build children’s sense of self-worth, and teaches important social-emotional skills such as taking turns.

-Most of all, music is GREAT FUN and builds classroom community!

If you know all these things already, let me help build your song collection! This whole blog (not just this post) is full of ideas. I especially recommend my CDs, Singing All the Way Home and Once Upon a Tune for classroom listening.

For straight-up interactive songs for literacy learning, go to my download, Songs for Rhyming and Reading, available through Songs for Teaching.

Songs for Rhyming and Reading includes these useful songs to get all your kiddos on the path to learning important literacy skills.

For basic rhyming, try the following:

Icky Sticky and Ooey Gooey (video link)

I Like My Hat

Animal Rhyming Words

Halloween Rhymes (video link)

Word Families is also a fun rhyming song, and teachers and their classes can easily build their own verses for whatever word family you’re teaching.

For helping children practice starting consonant sounds, try “The Muffin Man.” My version includes verses for other starting sounds, including the Donut Dog and the Cookie Cat. Another great song that features starting consonants is “Two Little Robins” (on Once Upon a Tune). The children will enjoy the finger play aspect of the song, shown in this video. “Tell Me All the Sounds” is great for when students are ready to begin segmenting word sounds. For extra help teaching about vowels (and their long & short sounds), try “Vowel Jamboree.”

“Animal Hand-Clap Rap” helps children segment words into syllables. The same song, with food words, is on Singing All the Way Home.

Also worth watching is my video of the song “Finger Family,” (author unknown). At least one school shows this video to kindergarten children in their first weeks of school, to help them name their fingers and thus position them properly on a pencil.

Finally, to get your children counting, rhyming and moving, go right to this video of Dr. Knickerbocker!

One Comment

  1. Wonderful article, Liz! I’m happy to share. Here’s another activity: listening to and recognizing the different sounds made by various instruments. One can start with more obvious contrasts (clanking bell vs resounding drum) and then refine it. How does the same type of container (milk box, water bottle) sound with different objects inside – bird seed, pebbles, paper clips, plastic bread clips, buttons). These activities help develop auditory discrimination, which also helps in reading – hearing the different between “B” and “P”; “D” and “T.”

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