Using Music to Teach Early Reading Skills

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     Did you know that when you are involved in music, more parts of your brain are being activated than with almost anything else?

     There is so much research out now describing the many ways music can help children learn!  Studies have shown that using music to teach content can actually increase test scores. Learning to read is enhanced through music because music is motivating and engaging.
     Below is a brief description of how songs can help within the five areas of reading instruction: phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension:

  •     Phonemic Awareness:  Many songs are packed with alliteration and rhyme. As children listen to these songs they recognize individual sounds within a word and notice the same sounds in different words.
  •     Phonics:  After children have become familiar with a song, put the lyrics in front of them.  As they recognize the first letter in key words, they start to "crack the code" of reading!
  •     Fluency:  Repetition is key to fluency, and music makes repeated practice enjoyable!  Children are able to experiment with grammatical rules and rhyming through song. Songs also discourage speed reading.
  •     Vocabulary/Comprehension:  Many songs provide lively oral language experience. Children repeatedly hear higher-level vocabulary laced within simple melodies. Many of the same reading strategies can be practiced with songs such as re-telling, visualizing, and questioning.
  • For example, take a look at my lyrics for Bumpbibble Bump. As you can see, this song builds phonological awareness of the /b/ sound, and its association with the letter "B."  Children love to use hand motions with songs, further increasing their interest, involvement and comprehension.

    Listen to Bumpbibble Bump in the audio player, below