Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Music and Literacy in Early Childhood: Guest Post by Dylan Glanzer

Music is a wonderful way to build literacy skills. I’ve asked Dylan Glanzer to talk to us today about how she uses music to promote literacy. Dylan’s website and blog is Great Kids Parties in NJ and she knows music! Her other site is Free Song by Miss Dylan.
Dylan is a NJ Certified Teacher with Masters in Early Childhood Education. She has 20 years experience in the children’s party business and as a preschool music teacher. She has lots more information on her website about music, literacy, parties and fun.
I hope you’ve had a chance to see Dylan’s book recommendations in Monday’s post, Marvelous Music Books for Kids. If not, check it out!

Music and Literacy in Early Childhood

Music is the universal language of mankind.
~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The first song many children learn is the “ABCs”. It is not a coincidence that we use music to help children memorize the basic letters of our language. Children seem to naturally respond to the melody and rhythm in their environment at a very early age. There have been many studies of the effect of music on babies even in utero.

So, can music help your child learn language and later, learn to read? Absolutely! Music and language both require the use of symbols matched with sound and pitch to reproduce:  language uses letters and music uses notes.

Music and the spoken language also have many similarities in how they are processed in the brain. Music is used in the earliest classrooms to build body awareness (Head, Shoulder’s Knees and Toes), facilitate gross motor development (If You’re Happy and You Know It), teach fine motor skills (The Itsy Bitsy Spider), and to help children learn basic concepts (Wheels on the Bus).

Since most children enjoy these musical experiences and remember these songs well, it stands to reason that using music in the classroom will naturally increase vocabulary, improve listening skills, and build their understanding of a wide range of topics. All of these skills lead to a strong foundation for reading.

 Oral language is an interactive and social process,
and music is a natural way for children
to experience rich language in a pleasurable way.
Woodall and Ziembroski

Could you imagine a world without music? Just like language, music is a way in which we communicate our feelings, elaborate on experiences, and share our emotions. Music sets the tone, changes mood, inspires action, fuels imagination, and activates memory. Music can also help a child build a strong foundation for reading.

When we share music with children, we give them a gift. So next time they want you to tell them a story, try singing one!
Dylan Glanzer

Thank you Dylan!

If you have songs and activities you enjoy doing with your child, please add then to the Comments Box!

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