RM Winter 2016 FLIP

one or voice-print matching. To clarify, we might start with a fairly simple text with single-syllable words such as The Wheels on the Bus (Kovalski, 1987; Zelinsky, 1990), as it is a song selection the child already knows. Because the child has memory for the words (and tune), he is more likely to match his voice to the single-syllable words on the page as he follows along with his finger. Thus, he is freed up to focus on regulating the voice-print matching, rather than having to also decode the words. As his print concepts mature, the learner is ready for the next step. We might choose to sing and read, Over in the Meadow (Galdone, 1986). Once the child is familiar with the words to the song, the text can serve as a self-tutorial for the child, helping him to learn to regulate voice- print matching or pointing behavior with multi-syllabic words. As he follows along with the words, he is likely to recognize that his finger needs to stay on the word, meadow, for two beats. As an added resource, children can watch videos such as Over in the Meadow ( https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C6ljGXMMB-g ) and read and sing along. A number of these videos function similarly to an e-storybook with highlighted words and animated dots that track the print for the child. Of course, most children will eventually develop the phonological awareness to understanding that words like meadow have two parts or two claps while bus has one, but the joint access to music and text is likely to speed up such awareness. Research with e-books and CD-ROMs suggest that incorporation of animations and sound as opposed to static visuals (printed texts and illustrations) are likely to assist the development of reading skills, especially in children who are at-risk (Neuman, 2009; Shamir & Shlafer, 2011). Such multimedia learning environments, when high quality, purposeful, and coordinated, offer multiple entries for acquiring literacy as opposed to a single visual print medium (Mayer, 2003). In cases where videos, CDs, or e-books or even picturebooks are unavailable, singing while reading teacher/class-made charts or Big Books offers a multi-sensory substitute. Such created texts, in lieu of, or in addition to, these more costly resources are likely to inspire pride in creativity and reading-writing connections. To support word learning in reading and writing, children can also create their own variants of familiar songs. To provide demonstrations, teachers might use published variations of a familiar song such as Over at the Castle (Ashburn, 2010) or Berkes’ Over in the Arctic (2008) or Over in Australia (2011) to suggest the playful transformation of Over in the Meadow . The latter two teach about different types of animals and their habitats but also serve as mentor texts, demonstrating how to create a variant. As an early example, teachers might use a counting song, Five Little Ducks (Raffi, 1989) to read and sing: “Over in the meadow in the sand in the sun Lived an old mother turtle and her little turtle one.”

encouraged her to learn how to hold the book and turn the page and discover when the next section of print was coming up. Observing how these tools were effective in teaching Sarah prompted Julie’s interest in learning more about how songs, chants, and sing-alongs can promote literacy in early readers. Anvari, Trainor, Woodside, and Levy (2002) emphasize the relationship between music and reading acquisition, particularly in relation to phonemic and phonological awareness. To clarify, phonemic awareness is a type of phonological awareness and refers to discernment of phonemes. Phonological awareness encompasses “ any size unit of sound ” (Yopp & Yopp, 2000, p. 130); the ability to recognize and say rhyming words, to count syllables, to segment word parts such as the beginning /ch/ and ending /ip/ are examples of such awareness. Early experiences with language, especially speech that is intuitively altered when directed at young infants, involve musical attributes. These attributes include repetition, tempo or pacing, up/down patterns in pitch, much like the rising, falling, drawn out, and staccato notes in a song. Children hear and become sensitized to these differences. This parallel between music and early speech suggests that “early skill with music might enhance reading acquisition to the extent that reading depends on the same basic auditory analysis skills” (Anvari et al., 2002, p. 113). What is most important here is that home and school experiences build sensitivity to the sounds of spoken language. Yopp and Yopp (2000) suggest several guidelines for activities that promote such sensitivity and awareness: (a) playfulness; (b) intentionality in focusing on the sounds of spoken language; and (c) part of a comprehensive reading framework. Combining such experiences with music is likely to incorporate these elements while being memorable and engaging. Phonological awareness is more likely to develop through repetition, pronunciation, and rhyming patterns within songs and chants. Hearing individual sounds within words and associating phonemes with specific letters can be supported through singing and listening to songs. Hearing the pronunciation of words modeled as syllables as they are elongated in song may be beneficial to readers, especially if they are following along with the text in front of them (Anvari et al., 2002). For example, The Animal Boogie (Harter, 2005) video https://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=25_u1GzruQM includes many examples of repetition and stretching letter sounds within its verses. Vowel sounds like the oo vowel team in “boogie” are repeated in the chorus of “boogie woogie oogie.”While examples such as these may seem silly or simply playful to adults, children love playing with the sounds and do not realize that they are also building necessary understandings for early literacy development as they are singing. The singer in the video stretches out consonant sounds such as the /l/ in leopard and the slithering sound of the /s/ in snake. Emphasizing these sounds while singing and tracking along with the print in the book makes reading appeal to the auditory senses while also accentuating phonemic awareness and letter-sound concepts. When song picture books are used, concepts about print are more meaningful, and print conventions are learned in context (Fisher, 2001; Paquette and Rieg, 2008). For instance, songs with patterns can be used to support print concepts such as one-to-

Reading Matters Teaching Matters

“Five little ducks went out one day over the hill and far away. Mother duck said, ‘Quack, quack, quack, quack.’ But only four little ducks came back.”

| 40 | Reading Matters | Volume 16 • Winter 2016 | scira.org


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