Songs about schools, school life and education have probably been composed and sung by students for as long as there have been schools. Wikipedia says examples of school songs can be traced back to the 17th century. But most parents don’t realise how valuable singing at school is for language and speech.
Many primary schools incorporate singing into their curriculum – and not just because most children enjoy it (even if they do sometimes moan or whinge or move only their lips). Singing songs can:
- enhance articulation
- practice kids’ pronunciation of multi-syllable words
- practice repetitive rapid alternating movement of the tongue and lips
- help children develop receptive language skills
- aid expressive language use.
Use singing for these learning games
Make learning fun with these activities:
Insert your own sound
Make some time to sing with your child and play around with the lyrics to familiar songs. You can insert any sound into a songthat already exists. If you want to elicit the sound “bah,” then you can sing the whole melody to Mary Had a Little Lamb on the word “bah.” Okay, lambs say “bah” but that was just a coincidence.
Leave the last word off a common musical phrase or song verse
Start singing together and deliberately leave the last word off a familiar song, and wait for the child to fill it in.An example would be “E I E I_______.” Praise all attempts and if need be, model the correct response.This needs to stay fun and not become a lesson - at least in the child's mind! You may know otherwise!
Have fun together singing
Singing activates more areas of the brain than speaking alone. It heightens, focuses, and motivates attention. And it's its own reward. It's good for them. Turn everything into a song. Giving a bath? “If you're happy and you know it wash your toes!” Going to Grandma's? Sing “this is the way we sit in the car, sit in the car, sit in the car...”
Sing the name game together
The Name Game song uses creative rhyming, such as "Charlie, Charlie bo barley, banana fana fo farley, fee fi mo marley, Charlie!" Sing the song with your child, using the names of all the people in your family. Make a game of it. Ask if your child can identify all rhyming words, nonsense or real words. Write rhyming words together on a sheet of paper. Ask the kids to identify real words that rhyme, such as, "Charlie" and "barley." Challenge your child to sing the song, first using real words and then nonsense words. You will help to hone their word identification and creative skills.
Find more about kids speech and language development:
- Speech and language development for pre-kinder children
- Speech and language development for 5-6 year olds
- Speech and language development for 7-8 year olds
- Speech and language development for 9-10 year olds
- Speech and language development for 11-12 year olds
- What is phonetics
- What is phonics
- What is phonemics
- How tongue twisters aid speech and language
- The importance of nursery rhymes
- Simple songs to boost speech and language
- Learning a second language
- All about syllables
Discover more School Zone
This story was written by Alex Brooks for Kidspot, New Zealand’s leading education resource.