Studies have shown that music helps students learn not only rhythm and motor skills, but importantly also language and literary skills. One such study, by Professors Patricia Cullingham and Richard Allington in 2011, found that when we see or hear words in a new context, our brain creates new synapses (connections) to those words. Professors Cullingham and Allington advocate that children be exposed to vocabulary and other literacy skills in different and meaningful ways. Music has been a very effective tool in bringing meaning to new material including skills in literacy.
How can parents use music to help their children with language and literacy skills? First, parents can use songbooks so that their children read the words and sing their favorite songs. Second, parents can sing songs with their children. Visit this website for songs that build reading and language skills - CLICK HERE.
Third, take the words that are repeated in songs and read them in print. Two books that can be used are Over the Rainbow and Puff the Magic Dragon, both beautifully illustrated by Eric Puybaret. Fourth, encourage your children to take part in afterschool music ensembles that inspire creativity and involve expression through the arts.