Using Music to Help Struggling Readers

Today, I am sharing a guest post I wrote for the Imagine Learning website.  Here is the first paragraph.  To read the whole article and access the live playlist, please click the title’s link. ~EMP

Our students come to us with many interests and talents. Music is one of them. Whether it’s Beethoven, the Beatles, Bon Jovi or (Justin) Bieber, tapping into their love of listening to music can help students become better readers. The two disciplines are innately very similar, and teachers and parents can take advantage of these similarities to help struggling readers become motivated learners.

To read the whole post, please click this link:  Using Music to Help Struggling Readers.

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Article by Elizabeth Peterson

Elizabeth Peterson has devoted her life to education and to reaching out to other teachers who want to remain inspired. Mrs. Peterson teaches fourth grade in Amesbury, Massachusetts and is the host of www.theinspiredclassroom.com. She holds an M.Ed. in Education, “Arts and Learning” and a C.A.G.S. degree with a focus in “Arts Leadership and Learning.” Elizabeth is author of Inspired by Listening, a teacher resource book that includes a method of music integration she has developed and implemented into her own teaching. She teaches workshops and courses on the integration of the arts into the curriculum and organizes the annual summer Teacher Art Retreat. Mrs. Peterson believes there is a love of active, integrated learning in all children and from their enthusiasm, teachers can shape great opportunities to learn.
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9 Comments

  1. Tori says:

    So very true when you stop and think about it! I was thinking, “How can music help a struggling reader?”. Music is sound and reading is visual (for the most part). I wasn’t making the connections between the skills that one needs to be a strong reader. In addition to the skills you spoke of, I began to think of fluency, re-reading, comprehension and the many others skills linked to reading. As we were active listeners today in our own class (with music), I found my self asking Elizabeth to re-play (re-read) so that I could comprehend and add meaning to my story that I was writing so that it made sense. I am so excited about learning all of these “new” skills!

  2. Jennifer Rice says:

    Yes these new skills are opening up a whole new way of thinking and a whole new way of learning for your students. When I was a classroom teacher I noticed so many students that struggled with oral and written language and it was sometimes holding them back from expressing their ideas. They had so much inside them and exercises like this would have been able to help them have a greater understanding of the reading and writing process!

  3. Becky says:

    As a literacy lover and a person who has a strong interests in teaching literacy to young children who are ready to form those lifelong habits, I couldn’t agree more. Finding those parallels between music and reading is an awesome idea. Teaching in this way, creates pathways in reading and in music. There are great connections between before, during, and after, visualization and beginning, middle and end. Victoria, you mentioned comprehension which is at the heart of reading instruction. Great ideas!

  4. Leslie says:

    Music, at least lyrical music, is poetry to music. It makes sense that their level of engagement and their willingness to practice would be heightened if music was the platform. My earliest memories of beginning reading was singing songs like “Three Little Kittens” or “Hickory Dickory Dock.” Had they not been put to song, I doubt I would have cared for lost mittens or rodents scurrying up a clock. Music does entice. Presently, I am using music for an immigration theme, but would like some songs for Habitats and animals, and not that “Have to Have a Habitat.”

  5. Dara says:

    After having the experience of traveling through a “music” lesson with Elizabeth, I wholly embrace the process of listening, discussing, connecting, and creating. Although we used the music listening as an introduction and its general use in the classroom and didn’t connect it specifically to reading, the class all agreed that we could see the connections between finding patterns and the idea of BME (beginning, middle, end) to writing – and, in my opinion, reading. This was just the start of my exploration into using music as an art form to explore in itself, and its continuation as a connection to curriculum subjects. The proof of success was in the product – our discussion and creation of a product (poem in my case) was inspiring and wonderful. I know already that this is only the tip of the iceberg for the possibilities of making connections between music and other classroom skills.

    • Leslie says:

      When you write you have the ability to choose very powerful words. I remember the word “shards” from yesterday’s contribution. It must be very empowering to work with the talents of older children.

  6. Mary-Ellen Uhlarik says:

    It is so helpful to see the connection to reading. When I introduce my PreK children to a new story we will explore the cover of the book do a picture walk talk about the author/illustrator and get an understanding of the children’s prior knowledge before we begin reading the book.
    This listening experience simply allows the children to use listening to visualize and come up with a story just as we did last night. This makes me very motivated to attempt this with my young 4 year olds! Going through the similar steps is exciting. I will need the visuals perhaps photos of the composer and some pictures of what may be happening just to get them thinking!

  7. Mary Linda Krikorian says:

    This is a terrific article! I try to encourage my private piano students to get to the music store and pick out some new sheet music to play. “I don’t know what to pick though!~” they say to me. I explain that, (naturally when the student is advanced enough to sightread), by looking at the music and just using their eyes to skim through it, they ought to be able to determine whether it’s at their level, or not.
    I equate it to going to the library and taking a peek inside….is it a picture book, is the print enlarged, can you read through a paragraph without any struggles!??

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