Build Literacy Skills with Songs

Posted May 11, 2021 – AWE Learning Staff
Think about the reason you turn on music or sing to your children at home or for the young patrons in the library. Is it to soothe them? Is it to get them moving? Singing with children brings them joy. Nevertheless, singing with them beginning at a young age, has also been proven to have many early literacy benefits. Singing encourages children to listen attentively and hold patterns in their memory; this improves their memory and attention span. When we sing songs, the sounds that make up the words become clearly pronounced.

Many songs, especially those for young learners, include numerous rhymes. These songs introduce children to rhymes and teach them that rhymes have a pattern. This will help them to identify words that do and do not rhyme with each other. Identifying these rhymes will help them build skills necessary to sound out words when they see them in print, rather than just as part of lyrics to a song.

Songs tend to make it easier for children to build their vocabulary. Songs introduce new words that they may not hear in a typical conversation. As mentioned, songs are often full of rhymes. These rhyming patterns, as well as the repetition of chorus verses, assist in learning new words and phrases. These words can be used in conversation, or aid in reading a book.

Singing helps your learner to hear the sounds that make up words and build their phonological awareness. In fact, phonological awareness is one of the leading indicators of future reading ability. Words are made up of multiple sounds; emphasize each syllable. Slow down the lyrics when singing a song to allow your child to hear each syllable – the beginning, middle, and ending sounds that make up the words. This strategy helps children to sound out words when they are ready to read.

Children often pick up on new words or sayings that they hear from those around them. Listening to those around them is important for children. Singing helps them to grow their listening skills. They must focus on the sounds, syllables, and words that are being said aloud.

Singing can be done at any time. Below are some tips on how to incorporate singing in your daily routine with your young learner(s).

  • Sing the clean up song when it is time to clean up the toys.
  • Listen to and recite nursery rhymes to build rhyming recognition.
  • Sing a rhyming song and have your child(ren) identify the rhymes.
  • Listen to a song that has actions actions associated with it to get your kids moving, for example, the Hokey Pokey!
  • Invite your child to sing with you.
  • Sing the text of a story.
  • Sing the alphabet song!

Sing to your child any chance you get! While singing songs has many early literacy benefits, children also find joy and entertainment in singing. What are some songs that you sing with your young learners?


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