Friday, November 14, 2008

Come on Readers, Let's Sing

Kids live for music. There is never a day that they don’t listen to music. BUT, we rarely use it as part of our educational program in intermediate classes. Many teachers in the primary grades use songs to teach letters, words, numbers, and counting. For some reason though, we rarely see it in 4-8 classes. And, interestingly enough, this is the time when music begins to play a major role in our students’ lives.


Turn that down!
Can I have some money to buy Rhianna’s CD?
Where's my IPod?
That video is not appropriate, Emily.
How can you do your homework with that music up so loud?
Dad, change that station.
Will you give me money to get tickets to go see Pink?

All of this was said in the last few days in my house. Do you ever hear similar comments? Yet even though we know that music is totally intertwined in our lives, we rarely integrate it into the curriculum. So, we are singing as part of Reading Workshop.

Each day for 10 minutes (usually two songs), lyrics are shown on the wall using the projector. Music is played and students sing along, reading the lyrics as they sing. Every week, we sing at least one new song. As students get too familiar with a song, they know all of the words, so they stop reading. Changing songs is important to keep students reading. It also helps with vocabulary instruction. With each new song, there are new words to learn and discuss.

The best part of singing in reading class though, is how it helps academic achievement. When students read fluently, the ability to comprehend increases dramatically. Conversely, when students fight to read each word, starting and stopping, and starting again, comprehension decreases dramatically. We have all listened to a student read, struggling with each word, never reading a sentence through, and wished we had a magic bullet. We know if we could just get him to read fluently, he would have a better chance of understanding what he reads.

As we know, there is no magic pill, to cure all ailments. However, with modeling, and repeated readings, we can significantly increase fluency. In fact, primary teachers use this daily. Adolescent learners will quickly turn us off though, if we try to read as a class every day. This just wouldn’t be “cool.” This is where singing plays an important role in the language arts classroom. Singing their favorite new hit is most definitely “cool.”
The available evidence provides reliable, scientific evidence of the positive impact of repeated readings on a variety of reading tasks and outcome measures. These studies also indicate that engaging children in repeated readings of a text is particularly effective in fostering more fluent reading in children who are struggling to develop proficient reading strategies.

What better way for repeated reading than through singing?

20 comments:

Ryan V. said...

Every day I listen to music and it really helps me Because I cannot read and listen to the speaker ''that is loud''and read so I listen to AC/DC and I am calm and reading well.

peyton+destiny said...

Well we thought that AC/Dc was like metal but if it makes you calm Ryan go for it.lol

laney said...

I listen to music every day of my life and i love it. Music keeps me up and running

Seth R said...

I CAN NOT LIVE WITH OUT MUSIC! it is the best thing ever. I always go on my computer and listen to MUSIC. Mr.McGuire you should let her go. Pink is awesome. I like the song So What I'm Still a Rock Star.

emma h. said...

I don't know many people who don't listen to music. I had a friend who didn't listen to music. I thought she was really weird. So every time she would come over I didn't listen to music. It was horrible. I love to listen to music!!

bailey m. said...

Mr. McGuire I think singing is really good for us. I think it is really important because singing helps us read better. And helps us with our language.

trindi said...

I used to not be able to read till I got to 4th grade. It was hard to go to the store with my mom because I could not read. Then when I got to 4th grade I told my self that it was time for me to learn how to read. So I think that it is a good way to learn how to read because if you do not know how to read and you know the song then you can read it. So you can read a little bit.

emma h. said...

Singing is really neat. It also helps you to read better. Fast songs help you to read faster. Singing is a good idea so if kids do not read at home and when they are supposed to they at least get some practice reading.

Makayla B. said...

I think it is fun to sing in class. I think it is good for helping you read and it. It's not my favorite thing to sing but I have to admit it is pretty fun. We started to sing last year. Now I can read a little bit better. That is why I think that Singing in class is important.

jessika W. said...

I love Music and I could not live without it but the one thing that I would change is that we could sing a different song every day. I do think that it does help slow readers read more fluently. I love singing and I wish that we could have started singing on the first day of school but we did not and I can not change the past so whatever. I do love reading and I hope that we can sing for the rest of the year!It does help people that are slow readers read faster and people how read fast then they can learn how to read more stronger and get every single word that they read.

Gabby L. said...

I can listen to music all day. I think music is important because some times it helps you focus. singing is important because it helps kids that have a hard time reading. I think your right that singing helps you read better. I think you need to let us sing once every day for a year because singing is a good way to learn how to read.

Destiny S said...

I think that music can and will help you. Some people can relate to some of the songs that you play.Some people love to listen to the music. Also when we sing in front of the boys it some what gets rid of being scared to sing in front of people .It also helps just to get school off f your mind.It helps me and many other people to. So if we keep this up we will all be doing really good. It also helps us read because when we are singing we follow the words on the wall. We will be reading the lyrics. This is what i think of singing in class.

Jacob y. said...

I think that singing helps our class, and it helps me stay on track in math and i think it helps other people to but thats what i say.

Ty A. said...

The kind of music what matters is Rock like ACDC,guns and rose's,Kid rock,Nickle back and poison I think we sing some song's like that.

colin H said...

I think that singing is like what Jacob said. I like singing. I also think that a lot of people like singing. I think that singing helps me focus and wakes me up.

heather p. said...

Music I can not tell you about how much that I like music. At first I had no clue that music could help you with reading better or with writing. I have to have music almost all the time (car). If you don't know way I put car is because I have to have the music on in the car. I think that it is a good idea to sing in school because it is a good way for kids to have fun and learn at the same time. Music helps me to like start my day and to help me concentrate on what I am doing.

shelby said...

I like to sing I don't know the songs we are singing but i try to sing with the songs especially with all sixth graders.. I think it's a good idea for us all for our education. When we sing we try our best to sing for you.When you sing with us we fell we are more happier.I want to sing some more songs..

Taylor Steele said...

Music is awesome.I love it.I am really glad I learned to read when I was 5.Reading is very important not just to read music but to read books,information, and worksheets we do in class.One thing we should change is that we should sing new songs every day.Or we could vote on different songs every day.I'm so glad that we get to sing after school.

Bree said...

Mr.McGuire you made the right choice by letting us sing because it actually helps us think about what were reading. It also helps us because it helps a lot of people influence their reading. Also I really think it makes Language Arts a lot more exciting. But yet it would be a lot more fun if you brought in and let us sing "so what I'm still a rock star". By the way thats by Pink if you didn't know that!

Taylor S. said...

That song is called ''So What''.That is a good idea!!