Think back to your first moments of learning the alphabet. You probably remember the rhythmic pacing and the infectious melody of the all-to-familiar ABC jingle. As far back as our preschool years, music has always been a pivotal component of our learning.
Today, music continues to serve as a powerful learning tool in the classroom. In recognition of its impact on learning, we continue to celebrate “Music in Our Schools” every March. It’s a time to reflect and recognize its role in our society. Across cultures and age groups, music is distinct with a variety of uses, whether at home or in the classroom.
In recognition of Music in Our Schools Month, Learning Without Tears offers several ways you can use music to engage students and help them build literacy skills that last a lifetime.
Reinforce alphabet knowledge!
For years, “The Alphabet Song” has served as one of the building blocks to reinforcing alphabet knowledge. It’s a catchy tune that slows down the traditional ABC song just enough to encourage children to say each letter with confidence.
If you want to spice up your alphabet instruction, consider introducing Learning Without Tears’ “Inside, Outside” Song. It teaches children how to use their inside and outside voices while they learn their letters.
Start with name and letter recognition skill building.
What better way to introduce your students to the wonders of music than by teaching them their own names? Students can learn to recognize the letters unique to their name and the names of their friends’ names with songs such as “I Am Happy to See You.”
Incorporate a morning routine that utilizes this song in combination with the names of your students. Adding a writing activity to a sing-along helps students practice letter formation and become comfortable with different letter cases.
And for our Spanish speakers, you can also find a Spanish version featured on our Sing, Sound, and Count with Me music album!
Make learning to interpret and imitate directions easy with a little jingle!
As children start their educational journeys, their ability to listen to and follow directions is key to the success of your lesson plan. Help your students get into the groove by incorporating our Get Set for School Sing Along music album into your lessons. The album features a variety of songs that encourage imitation and comprehension of teacher-led directions.
For example, the “Wood Piece Pokey” song engages children's gross motor skills as they imitate their teachers’ or families’ movements. During this activity, they learn important position words and the names of the wood pieces, which help them build letters successfully later on.
Mat-Man is your musical friend when it comes to building drawing and cognitive skills.
Not only is Mat Man a prominent figure in the literacy space, but he also enjoys a good tune! Listening to the "Mat Man” song, students learn the parts of the body as they build a Mat Man of their own. Have fun adding other body parts and lyrics as your students become more creative. Dress up Mat Man to help them learn the seasons and important holidays.
Don’t have Wood Pieces? Download the cutout for wood pieces and start using it in your classroom or home today!
Teach proper grip technique while reinforcing fine motor skills.
What better way to teach children crayon grip than with a song? The “Crayon Song” teaches children to hold their crayons with a tripod grip by telling them exactly where to place their fingers. They have fun dropping and picking up their crayons, which helps them to solidify proper grip. The Crayon Song provides a way for teachers and parents to partner on reinforcing proper grip.
Use rhythm to build confidence in counting.
Want to help your students strengthen fine motor skills? Use finger-focused plays throughout your instruction. Fingerplays are useful activities that help children get into character through movement, music, and more.
One popular fingerplay is “Five Little Fingers.” Be sure to have students imitate you (another skill nurtured with music) as you follow the directions in the song. By engaging in this activity, students learn how to count, interpret narratives, and develop one-to-one correspondence.
Use rhyming to build phonological awareness.
Rhyming is an important phonological awareness skill that asks children to identify the ending sound of words that have the same sound.
“Rhyming Riddles” is a great song that gives children an opportunity to solve riddles by identifying key rhyming words. Learning Without Tears has animated “Rhyming Riddles” in the Pre-K Interactive Teaching Tool. Children will enjoy seeing the words come to life, especially the dog driving the car. Rhyming Riddles” song gives children an opportunity to solve riddles by identifying key rhyming words.
The connections between early literacy and music are endless! Keep your students actively engaged with hands-on musical activities, help them refine mechanical skills through performance, or just pass the time with a good old-fashioned sing-along. Whatever your choice of musical activity might be, music can always be used to complement your instruction.
Take the month of March to celebrate rhyme and rhythm in your classroom!