Singing PLUS: Why singing super-charges any learning activity

By Julia Cantrell, Children's Library Associate, Hardesty Regional Library

What makes music such a good early literacy activity is that you can combine it with pretty much all of the other Build A Reader activities to get a super-charged learning activity with very little effort. Let's come up with some combinations:

Singing plus talking: Singing is another way to bring in those 30,000 words that science says babies need to hear daily. It is also a fun way to help build their vocabulary.

Singing plus writing: a lot of children's songs have finger or arm actions to accompany them. These actions help babies build their writing skills by working those little finger muscles! (Hint: this helps us hold writing implements later on!)

Singing plus reading: like talking, reading is a great way to get words into your children's life. Try this: does your child have a favorite book you read over and over? Try singing the words next time to bring something new to something familiar. Did it change anything about the book?

Singing plus playing: these two might go together best of all. Encouraging your child to sing a favorite song is a fun play time activity. In addition, having music on during a play session can encourage natural movement. We respond naturally to music by moving our bodies to the rhythm. If you have music on during a play session, children might make their own decision on how their body will respond to the music. They might just spontaneously burst into action just by their own imaginative force. (Grownups call this dancing.)

Look at all those early literacy combinations! Isn't singing awesome?

All of the five Build A Reader activities (Talk. Sing. Read. Write. Play.) are important. They are TRUE SCIENCE that has been proven to help children develop the skills necessary to process language and be future successful readers. That's the best kind of science, if you ask me. Music and singing is just one of the ways we help our children develop language and learn about the world.

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