Using Music to Teach Reading Skills

Hi everyone! It's Bex here from Reading and Writing Redhead. You probably know by now but I love finding creative ways to teach reading and I love bringing other types of learning into the classroom beyond the basics that I have to teach. Today I have some ideas to share with you about using music to teach reading skills.



Ask yourself, how many children know the alphabet at a young age- age two  for example? Probably most of them know it because someone thought to set the alphabet to the song "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star". The tune, the rhythm, even the rhyme, helps ingrain the letters in kids' brains.

Music can be used to help students learn the alphabet,  the sounds of letters, develop phonemic awareness, build phonics skills and vocabulary and more! There are many songs to teach grammar skills and folks have used nursery rhymes as songs to teach basic spelling patterns and print conventions. Fountas and Pinnell once wrote that our students should "sing songs of such delight that the lyrics remain in the memory forever". What songs do you still remember from school (Hello Conjunction Junction!)?

Besides listening to songs, singing songs, and watching music videos, some teachers have their students rewrite familiar songs as a lesson to learn sounds or rhymes.

I found a great website that is an amazing resource of songs for teachers. It's called Songs for Teaching: Using Music to Reinforce Learning. It is a treasure trove of songs and song lyrics (click on any title to hop over and see the song).  There are songs that teach the alphabet letters such as Fran Avni's Dinosaurs to Dinner.  There are songs specifically for vowels and consonants such as  Get Your Own Goat by Avni and Vowel Sound Hound Dogs 1.  A song I plan to use this week is one for R controlled vowels called Rock and Roll Star by Fun Phonics Songs.

With all the technology out there, maybe you are able to show videos to your class. Here are just a very few on what seems like millions of videos, new and old, that use music to teach reading skills.

ALPHABET:
Want a new twist on the alphabet? Try Usher's Alphabet Song! (by the way, does Elmo's voice scare anyone else's dog?)




PHONICS:
Phonics Songs with 2 Words




Electric Company-  Silent e - I bet you remember this:  "Who can turn a can into a can, who can turn a pan into a pane?"





PARTS OF SPEECH:
Schoolhouse Rock - Lolly Lolly Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here 




Schoolhouse Rock - A Noun is a Person Place or Thing




Schoolhouse Rock Conjunction Junction- the sentimental favorite!



GRAMMAR:
Electric Company's  N Apostrophe T: I personally played this several times this year and my students love it! Who needs fancy technology to enjoy music and a video (and learn while we're at it)?



RHYMES:
Beans and Franks TV - Rhymes




MOTIVATION:
Ocoee Middle School's Gotta Keep Reading: A fun, creative take on Black Eyed Peas' I Gotta Feeling which is really fun, catchy, and inspires kids to read (great to motivate them for the summer break) !




Finally here are a few music teachers' blogs. They are worth a look, even if you're not a music teacher. Teacher blogs are always full of treasures!

Amy Abbott's Music a la Abbot 
Tanya's Kodaly Inspired Blog 
Lindsay Jervis's Pursuit of Joyfulness
A collaborative music teacher blog: Kodaly Corner 
Mrs. Miracle's Music Room 
Allison's Music Blog

I hope  you have a few new ideas for how to incorporate music in your reading lessons. How do you use music in your teaching? Please comment below and let us know!





8 comments

  1. I love using music to help with reading! I remember so many of those songs from my own childhood, and they still help me out! Great reminders!

    Andrea
    Reading Toward the Stars

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    1. Andrea, not only was I thinking of what I use with my current class while working on this blog post, I was having many flashbacks to my elementary school days!

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  2. Music is not only a motivator, it really does "cement" learning. I am always on the lookout for more! :)

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    1. Great! I am glad you enjoyed the ideas.Thank you so much for stopping by!

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  3. I couldn't agree more that music is such a valuable tool for learning all sorts of things - thanks for this great resource! A brilliant post!

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    1. Wow Sara, thank you SO much for the kind compliment and for reading this post! I appreciate it! Hope your June is off to a good start!

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