January 19th, 2011
“Sing a song of sixpence, a pocket full of rye…” and tap some rhythm sticks while you’re singing! Better yet, give the rhythm sticks to your child and sing together at one of our spring StoryTimes!
We Children’s Librarians love to incorporate singing, rhythm activities and musical instruments into our StoryTimes. We know that children enjoy music, and we know that music offers countless benefits. First, music provides a pleasing structure for children to learn. From the alphabet song that teaches letters, to counting songs (“This Old Man, He Played One”) to songs about body parts (“Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes”), music enriches a child’s vocabulary. In turn, this helps to develop pre-reading skills like letter recognition, narrative skills and phonological awareness. Phonological awareness refers to the specific units of sound in a language, and this is a key skill in learning to read.
Another benefit music brings to children is that music quietly creates structure. Children learn there is a time to start and a time to stop, a time to play with the instruments and a time to put the instruments away. Music builds listening skills and makes following directions fun (“Beep your nose!” “Shout hurray!”). The repetition in music and songs also helps build memory skills.
Music is also a great way to shake the wiggles and sillies out! Music helps children coordinate their movement and increase their motor skills. It also helps children learn spatial relationships and teaches them positional terms (“raise your hands high, bring them down low, put them behind your back, where did they go?”).
Research shows that the skills music helps a child learn can also help the child’s brain develop and grow. One researcher, writing about how music may help a child learn crucial language skills, points out that “Music engages much of the brain and coordinates a wide range of processing mechanisms,” and that language, like music “relies on interpreting complex acoustic sequences that unfold in time,” (Aniruddh D. Patel, 2008). While that sounds complicated, basically all the researcher is saying is what we already know: music helps a child learn language and pre-reading skills!
On a simpler level, music unites us. Many songs sung in our StoryTimes have been sung for generations. Songs come from many lands, which helps children learn that the world is big and wonderful. Music connects us all, over land and over time.
Come share in the power of music at one of our StoryTimes. Registration has started for all branches and we have programs for babies, toddlers and preschoolers. In addition to music, we’ll introduce your children to excellent books and help you guide your children on the life changing journey of learning to read. Call or stop by your local branch for more information about our spring kids” programs!