“If I were not a physicist, I would probably be a musician. I often think in music. I live my daydreams in music. I see my life in terms of music.” ― Albert Einstein
We’ve all sang along to our favorite tune. Sure it can brighten up your day and make you feel like a rock star, even if no one else knows you’re singing! But what about songs that relate to picture books?
You bet – song picture books can help children’s literacy skills. According to author Mary Renck Jalongo, in her book Young Children and Picture Books 2nd ed., literacy skills that can be built through responses to song picture books include the following:
• Familiarity and enjoyment.
• Repetition and predictability.
• Vocabulary and knowledge of story structures.
• Critical thinking and problem solving.
• Creative expression and language play.
Song picture books can also be categorized and easily used for age ranges of children. Here are some examples …
➢ Babies – lullabies such as A Child’s Gift of Lullabies by J. Aaron Brown.
➢ Toddlers – Songs that can associate with board books. A good example is: Hush Little Baby by Sylvia Long.
➢ Preschooler – Songs where children can all sing together. Examples are: The Bear: An American Folk Song by Kenneth J. Spergler and Do Your Ears Hang Low? By Caroline Jayne Church.
➢ Kindergarden – Using a song where the child is already familiar with its melody and lyrics such as: Puff, the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow and Lenny Lipton, Down by the Bay by Raffi, and Take Me Out to the Ballgame by Jack Norworth.
➢ Primary Grade Children – In this category, picture books that tell a story or motivate children to create their own parodies like, I know an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Pie by Alison Jackson.
As researched by (Risher & MacDonald 2001), children can have previous knowledge of the words from the songs they’re singing and as a result, song picture books assist them with their reading efforts.
Here is an excellent link for you to further explore the power of song picture books …
Now get ready … get set … sing!
~ Robert Scott Thayer