Parents and teachers often promote learning music when it comes to encouraging children to enjoy a thorough, well-rounded education. However, did you know music can specifically influence children’s reading and writing? Here is important information for educators, moms and dads on the link between music and literacy.
How does music help?
Participating in music — whether in the form of song, dance, or playing a musical instrument — helps children learn to follow instructions and listen for comprehension. According to Science Daily, there are several studies supporting the idea that music helps children with language development, with many theories as to why. Some researchers believe the overlap of brain circuitry is at the heart of the matter, that children are learning to use a similar part of the brain for music as for language. Others believe it relates to the timing in a child’s development. No matter how or why it works, the evidence in favor of engaging children with music is overwhelmingly positive.
Home and budding musicians
Adding music to a child’s homelife can be a boon to their literacy. Any family can encourage children toward music through song, and as Scholastic points out, even parents who are not gifted in singing can participate. Children enjoy the musical aspects and interaction, and they really don’t care if family members or friends are “good” singers. Dancing is in the same category, making learning easy and fun for kids who can participate with mom, dad or siblings.
When it comes to learning a musical instrument, you might want to engage a tutor or participate in group lessons. There are also free online music lessons available for various ages and abilities. Some families decide to set up an area at home dedicated to practicing an instrument, apart from the rest of the household so your child doesn’t disturb anyone. You should expect to pay an average price of $1,757 to soundproof a room in your home.
Naturally turning to music
Many parents naturally gravitate toward music when it comes to raising their children. They sing lullabies when it’s time for sleep and soft songs to soothe children when they are anxious or afraid. When hitting the road, songs provide entertainment on long car trips or an opportunity to learn the alphabet in anticipation of school. In addition to these traditional tools, Bright Horizons points out that music can be a specific resource to child development as well, helping children toward improved literacy and overall learning. You can use music to connect children with particular communication skills, such as learning to form and understand words, speak in sentences, and read. Teaching children tongue-twisting songs, alliterative songs, or songs with foreign words and phrases can build language skills directly.
Examples and specifics
Music naturally engages children, helping them to get excited about whatever they are doing. It is also a way to keep them connected and interested in learning. One of the many ways music helps children in their language development is the learning of rhythms, rhymes and patterns. The repeated sounds, words, and actions that are part of traditional children’s music help give better understanding of what is meaningful, and teach emotional connections to words. Songs we might describe as “sing-songy” are an example, such as “Over the River and Through the Wood.”
Musical activities such as finger plays, which is singing songs with coordinated finger movements, appear to enhance children’s vocabulary and help them learn to pronounce words more clearly. An example of a finger play is “Itsy Bitsy Spider.”
Songs that incorporate dance and body movement can also reinforce understanding of words, rhythm, emotion and meaning. You can connect children with fun music and dance videos on websites like YouTube. Playing a musical instrument appears to further enhance children’s language and comprehension skills, as they learn to read notes and understand the variances in soft sounds, short sounds, loud sounds, and smooth sounds.
Every educator and parent aims to help individual youngsters become his or her best. By including music in a child’s life, you can build important language-related skills and abilities. Ensure children have access to music for improved literacy.
– Charles Carpenter created HealingSounds.info. He believes in the power of music and sound as a healing tool. He is based in San Antonio, Texas.