Wednesday, March 7, 2012

March is Reading Month 2012, Tip #7: Sing, Sing a Song

Sing, sing a song!

It's funny that today's tip is about singing because I am groggy from a crazy late-nighter of planning second grade costumes for their Fish Musical. (Guess who is in charge of the swordfish costumes?)

Lately, I have been thinking a lot about ways to build fluency with readers who need extra help. I think singing is a great step. As a classroom teacher, I think I did this very well. As a specialist, I think I need to find more opportunities for singing. Maybe I could just teach kids to read with kick "a-star-star" fluency using Justin Bieber lyrics? (Are the kids still listening to him?) I am thinking that my extensive personal repertoire of show tunes and Barbra Streisand songs may not come in very handy. Wait, maybe the kids would like a little Manilow? Regardless, better collaboration and idea-sharing with primary music teachers would be a great professional goal.

In all seriousness, singing is one way kids learn to read. Claude is the quintessential toddler, enjoying nursery rhymes, especially when put to music. It's terribly sweet to hear her singing "Baa Baa Black Sheep" to herself when she is supposed to be sleeping. Today I had a student singing the ABC song to himself while following the ABC chart with his eyes right before our lesson started. Clearly, I need to use music more in my instruction with this little guy!

Singing is a huge thing with teaching preschoolers. Why do we stop singing in the classroom when students get older? Singing considers phrasing, emotion, rate: all the things that readers need to read well.

So, for me, this March...I will sing more. I'll sing because it's fun, I'll sing because my mother* tells me that my voice is a gift, and I'll sing to teach readers more about fluency.


* My mother is known across the tri-state area for being very objective in matters dealing with me.

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