Promoting Literacy in the Music Room
Literacy is the ability to read and write. I believe it is one of the most important skills a student gains in school. It may not seem like a priority in the music classroom, but I strive to promote literacy in my music classroom.
Some ways I promote literacy are obvious, such as reading the lyrics to a song. In the younger classes like preschool, simply reading a book about musical instruments is a great way to promote literacy. I start out every preschool and kindergarten class with the same song. The song is from Music Play and includes the words of the song as well as the pictures of the actions. We sing and dance along with the video at the start of every class, the further along we get in the year, students begin to recognize words like “clap” or “drum”. In first grade music, we have been reading poems. We read the poems a few times out loud with our speaking voice and then we read them with different voice types, like our singing voice, whispering voice, speaking voice, shouting voice, or even our thinking voice.
In second grade music, we are working on breaking words into syllables to match them with rhythms. We can play the rhythms on our drums, tambourines, and rhythm sticks. The students have so much fun making rhythms using food words! In fourth grade music, we are about to begin learning to use adjectives to describe the timbre of music that we listen to every day. I also have a word wall in my classroom for musical vocabulary words. Third-grade students were exposed to words like echo, canon, round, and call-and-response. We then learn songs to apply those new vocabulary words. I enjoy expanding students’ vocabulary and finding creative ways to promote literacy through music. This year is already off to an AWESOME start.