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Music in a Box, Part 3

  • Jun 2, 2010
  • Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard

Young children learn best through multi-sensory teaching opportunities. Music adds so many dimensions to augment learning as elements of music enhance areas of literacy learning.

Howard Gardner, education professor at Harvard University, has developed a "Multiple Intelligence" theory as to how intelligence can be described and how we can create curriculum to enhance and develop multiple intelligences in young children. Using music to enhance learning also supports his Multiple Intelligence theory. Gardner believes that music is one of the first intelligences to emerge in young children. Music is meaningful to the youngest child.

Today's "Music In A Box" is an excellent example of how adding music can enhance multiple literacy learning areas that include vocabulary concepts found in labeling animals, instruments, color recognition and illustrations that enhance print motivation and awareness, phonological awareness through singing the story to a familiar tune, or rhythmical reading the text, and narrative development through a farm and family theme.

Thank you to our librarians for choosing and creating this Box, and creating a musical thread to enhance literacy. Now, what can YOU add?

Music in a Box Book Title: Baby Danced the Polka


Appropriate Audience: Preschool


Author/Illustrator: Karen Beaumont and Jennifer Plecas


Literacy Goals:

  • Print Motivation (flaps)
  • Print Awareness (different font)
  • Vocabulary (descriptive words)
  • Phonological Awareness (rhythm and rhyme)

Activities/Extension with Music:

  • Play polka music in the background and polka dance with stuffed animals.
  • There is a fiddle and dancing shoes in the story. Perhaps play a fiddle and have tap shoes available for the children to see and hear.
  • Add rhythm on the refrain asking children and caregivers to clap or drum the steady beat.

Materials: Have the reading audience “guess” animal before opening the flap. Have this animal ready with their sound.


Parent Education Tips: Discuss how the flaps motivate children to engage with the story. Discuss how different font encourages print awareness.


Other: Nonfiction farm books could also be presented. Play polka music. We suggest singing “Old MacDonald” and “The Farmer in The Dell” with this book to add more opportunities for vocal play/development, and lesson engagement. Using manipulatives while singing about and labeling toy farm animals add to the story and create increased opportunities for literacy-rich experiences. Musical spoons or “kitchen band” instruments while telling the story, or while listening to the polka music also enhance participation.

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