What does music have to do with reading? Everything!

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

Music, man! It's where it's at when it comes to helping your baby and young child become a reader when they are older. In fact, music and singing are so important, the Tulsa City-County Library makes sure it's included in every single one of our weekly storytimes. 

Our future avid readers have to start somewhere, and that somewhere is in Slowly Town. It is slow there.

Developing language for a little brain works like this: before you can say a word, you have to know how to make a sound. Language is made up of all kinds of sounds that we put together to build a word. Ergo, words are sounds arranged with purpose. To make a sound (with purpose), you have to first hear that sound. Sounds come from all over, sometimes too fast to comprehend for little brains.

However, there are some sounds that little brains latch on to, such as the sounds of a caregiver's voice - and musical sounds. Words set to music, also known as singing, will slow them down into delicious bite-size pieces and the developing brain will simply feast on them. These digestible phonemic bits will make it easier for the little brain to hear what makes up language and eventually use words to express themselves instead of wild gestures and flails. (Caution: this is not a guarantee that learning how to speak or read will prevent future gestures, incomprehensible sounds, or flails.)

Music and singing can make otherwise uneventful, everyday tasks into fun activities to do. This is lesson is taught, again and again, in such childhood classics like "Mary Poppins," "The King and I," and "The Sound of Music," "Snow White and the Seven Dwarves," and countless others.

More recently, Daniel Tiger is making bank on putting rules, life advice, and lessons into short, snappy songs that are catchy and repeated often. Daniel and crew know the most effective way to learn is through both song and repetition. Your kids will never be able to say that they didn't know a rule if you SING that rule so often that they find themselves singing it, just because it's stuck in their head! Music and singing can reinforce learning and be fun at the same time!

Drop by next week to see the many different ways you can combine singing with other activities that will light your baby's brain up even more to get it ready to read...


Well said, Julia! Good job!

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