The Power of Singing

Today’s blog was written by one of our very own children’s storytellers: Miss Alex. You’ll find Miss Alex sharing stories with children of all ages as well as creating wonderful children’s programs at a couple of our branches.

Singing is fitting for the “Libraries Rock!” summer reading theme (are you signed up?)! Singing is a popular activity in story times too. As the post, “Sing to Your Baby,” said, “Sharing stories, songs and rhymes with your child has many wonderful benefits.” What do those benefits look like in your life?

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I can think of many personal benefits in my own – I once signed up for a continuing education graduate class without knowing it was basically a choir, which was such a wonderful adventure in confidence and perseverance.

As a librarian,

I recently used this printed “board game” on my school visits to promote the Día program;  when children landed on the “nursery rhyme” square, so many of the elementary students remembered and loved “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” as much as the babies and toddlers I work with do, too.  At one elementary school, w

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hen groups landed on the “sing a funny song” square I used my latest joke, “The Itsy Bitsy Spiderman,” to great success! One boy in particular was inspired to make up an entirely new song about a superhero and had more confidence to try to sing it as he created it.

I totally believe in the power of singing to not only “start smart” but “stay smart.” Check out Ready Rosie videos of ways to sing with the children in your life, as well as one of my favorite songs from the Scottish Book Trust’s Song and Rhyme Library, below. Let us know in the comments or at your next library visit what you think about them, how you feel about singing, and your favorite songs!

Resources:

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Sing to Your Baby…

Singing is one of the five practices parents and caregivers can do with their babies and young children to help enhance the early literacy skills. It is a great way to incorporate new vocabulary, rhythm, rhyme, play, bonding, and love.

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In this article from NAEYC (the National Association for the Education of Young Children), the authors explain why singing to babies helps them learn. I will highlight just a few of the bullet points from the article in this post today.

  1. Bonding: one of the most important things you can do with your baby is to bond with him/her. Singing helps because they hear your voice. Your voice is one of the first they will hear!
  2. New words: Vocabulary is important in the development of a child because as he/she hears new words, they become more familiar with them. And when they see these words in print, it will be easier for them to recognize the words making reading just that much easier. Songs introduce new vocabulary often through play. When you sing about an animal, hold up a stuffed animal or picture to help your baby associate the meaning of the word. Point to the tummy or the eyes when you sing about those features.
  3. Love! Remember your baby loves your voice. He/She doesn’t know that you are not an American Idol or Grammy-winning artist. Just sing to your baby!

The Braid of Literacy

Reading. Singing. Talking. Playing. Writing. Together all of these actions can help children become skilled readers. Weaving these practices together vocabulary, phonological awareness, narrative skills, print motivation, print awareness, and letter knowledge are acquired.

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Strands of early literacy development. Reprinted from Connecting early language and literacy to later reading (dis)abilities: Evidence, theory, and practice, by H. S. Scarborough, in S. B. Newman & D. K. Dickinson (Eds.), 2002, Handbook of early literacy research, p. 98, Copyright 2002, New York, NY: Guilford Press.

We are going to get technical for just a minute, so bear with us. In 2002, literacy researcher Hollis Scarborough released a study dealing with the Braid of Literacy. In the study, Scarborough found literacy could be broken into two simple parts: Language Comprehension and Word Recognition. But more importantly, it is within these two parts that more complex things are at work. As you can see in the illustration, when all of the pieces and parts of literacy come together, they form a tightly woven braid. But it is only when they are working together.

That was too technical. But what does that all mean?

Let’s go back to reading, talking, singing, playing, and writing. When you read with your child or talk with your child, when you play and sing together, and when you write and let your child use a paper and pencil, you are weaving together these different parts of literacy.

Spend a few minutes each day trying to do at least two of these simple practices with your child.

Sing a Little Song, Recite a Little Rhyme: Part Two

Over the next few months, we will be sharing our staff’s favorite songs and rhymes. These can be heard during storytime at many of our locations. (Here’s part one in case you missed it.)

Singing and rhyming are great ways to develop sound awareness for children. This sound awareness can lead to better reading as children develop a better understanding of the sounds that make up words!kt8aqxgtr

So, here are a couple of rhymes and songs you can sing with your child when they wake up in the morning or after naptime, in the bathtub, when it is time to change a diaper, when it is time for bed, in the car…and remember, you do not have to be an American Idol to sing a song to your child.

Magic Finger
Magic finger in the air
Magic finger in my hair
Magic finger on my hips
Magic finger on my lips

Hello Song
(to the tune of Hot Cross Buns)
My hands say hello, my hands say hello
Every time I see my friends, my hands say hello.
(then feet, ears, head, whatever the your child wants!)

Two Little Feet
Two little feet go tap, tap, tap
Two little hands go clap, clap, clap.
Two little fists go thump, thump, thump,
Two little legs go jump, jump, jump!

For more fun rhymes, make sure you visit your local storytime.

Sing a Little Song, Recite a Little Rhyme: Part One

The next couple of week we will be sharing our staff’s favorite songs and rhymes. These can be heard during storytime at many of our locations.

Singing and rhyming can have a very positive impact on young children. Singing helps break up the syllables in words, which makes identifying the parts of words easier. Rhymes help children hear the sounds that make up words, which makes reading easier as children are able to identify parts of words quicker. For instance, say the words “Twinkle, Twinkle little star, How I wonder what you are…” out loud. Now sing those lyrics out loud. Chances are you slowed down a little bit to sing the lyrics. This made hearing the parts of the word simpler. It also allowed you to hear the rhymes better.

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Fun fact: If children can identify all of the words in a word family (-at, -an, -ig, -it, etc…), they will know more than 500 words! How cool is that?!

So, here are a couple of rhymes and songs you can sing with your child when they wake up in the morning or after naptime, in the bathtub, when it is time to change a diaper, when it is time for bed, in the car…and remember, you do not have to be an American Idol to sing a song to your child.

Sunshine, Sunshine
(use a scarf to “dance” around your child–a Miss Elizabeth original)
Sunshine, sunshine warms my nose,
Sunshine, sunshine warms my toes.
Sunshine, sunshine warms my chin,
Sunshine, sunshine makes me grin.
Sunshine, sunshine at my side,
Sunshine, sunshine time to hide.
Sunshine, sunshine warms my head,
Sunshine, sunshine goes to bed.
(can be used with bubble, flower, raindrop, and snowflake)

A Hunting We Will Go
(change out the words mouse/house, dragon/wagon with your own fun rhyming words)
A hunting we will go, A hunting we will go
We found a mouse, and put him in a house
A hunting we will go.

A hunting we will go, A hunting we will go
We found a dragon, and put him in a wagon
A hunting we will go.

Stay tuned for more fun rhymes this month!