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Music As A Literacy Tool

April 25, 2024

A guest blog post by Annie Lynn & Tonnye Williams Fletcher


Annie Lynn shares:

Children’s Book Week is almost here, and you are no doubt looking for fun, educational activities to share with children as a supplement to the week-long celebration. This year’s slogan, “No Rules, Just Read” is beautifully embodied in the 2024 Poster by award-winning illustrator/author, Sophie Blackall. It can be downloaded along with other resources at

Music is a great vehicle for content as well as being a wonderful motivator. It can set the tone for your classroom, your dining experience, or your reading experience.

Meet the new Official Jingle for Children’s Book Week. It even has its own musical lyrics video. It was created for educators as a supplement to other extension activities for Children’s Book Week.

One possible extension activity could be to assign students to listen to this jingle/song and memorize it initially as homework. Listening can be done with headphones, on the library or school computer, or listening on a home computer or phone.

Learning the jingle from the video should be fairly comfortable; after all, the lyrics are easy to follow. But what about those students not yet reading? Can this lyrics video help enhance literacy engagement and gains?

We feel the answer is an encouraging YES!

The first thing students will notice is that the words to the jingle light up from left to right, as each word is sung. For readers, following along and singing should be an appropriate level of challenge – just enough difficulty to keep them engaged.

For emergent readers, listening repetitively can bring a familiarity with the song. As they continue to listen and watch the lyrics light up, they sort of “back into reading,” much the same way a toddler will memorize the words to a favorite story, and point to the page that each word is on, pretending to read.

Eventually, students begin to recognize unfamiliar words and discover patterns and then you have a child singing AND reading.

How does singing benefit early literacy skills? An article entitled “Using Music to Teach Early Literacy Skills” from Capstone Publishing, written by Literacy Teacher Ginger Dohmen Thacker, lists some encouraging reasons to incorporate singing into lessons, thus laying the groundwork for a successful learning environment that will be enjoyable for many.

“The early literacy skills required for reading that are enhanced through singing are: phonological awareness, letter knowledge, print awareness, narrative skills, vocabulary, and print motivation.”
There’s also one other important benefit of using music to teach early literacy skills……’s FUN! Right

Tonnye Williams Fletcher shares:

In general, kids respond well to using music. Using lyrics videos can enhance things like memory, fluency, and word knowledge. Seeing the words while singing the music/song sets the pace (cadence).

In teaching K-2 elementary music, using lyrics videos serves a multitude of purposes. It scaffolds students’ knowledge of the lyrics until they learn them when we are preparing for a performance. I often start off with a video with lyrics and singing support; then eventually remove the singing support, and finally remove the lyrics support and by that time students have usually memorized the lyrics. In the meantime, however, often they have gained a knowledge of print words that were in their lexicon, but they didn’t know what the words looked like. They’ve built fluency and prosody (aided by the beat of the music). Because they are seeing and hearing and singing the words, they are building effective brain pathways which will help them to recall the words when they encounter them in print subsequently. While I teach music, the effects of this strategy are effective regardless of your subject area.

When I served as a second grade teacher, I also used music lyric videos in my classroom not only to deliver content and provide motivation, but also to develop fluency, phonological awareness, and help students strengthen their vocabulary, all of which align with the science of reading.

The beauty of using music lyrics videos is that it is the perfect blending of science and art, appealing to both sides of the brain. Since it has bilateral impact, it is a phenomenal tool to help students learn and grow in various areas and in various ways. Whether students are already established readers or are emergent readers, using music lyrics videos is a fun strategy that perfectly marries the science of reading, the art of music, and the strength and resilience of our brain, resulting in better learning that is also entertaining and engaging for the students. What better way to celebrate Children’s Book Week than blending books and music?

Check out the lyric video for the official Children’s Book Week jingle, and join the challenge!



Tonnye Williams Fletcher


AnnieBirdd Music, LLC



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