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Music is so natural for children; the new literature on emergent literacy treats reading and music the same way—a natural extension of children’s language and experience for young children" (Harp, 1988).

June 8, 2011
Playing Favorites!

As a grand finale, we wish to complete our “Musical Storytelling” with a list of early childhood music resources that will enhance your programming. We created a list of favorites from our Early Childhood Music Department, and compiled this information to share with you. This list is a work in progress, and forever growing as new artists create and research in literacy continues to develop/ Thank you for your faithful readership, and creating literacy opportunities for your children by using music to promote literacy. The elements inherent in music provide the foundations for literacy. Music is the natural language of young children! 

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
May 13, 2011
Musical Garden Theme

As we welcome spring, this lesson includes using children’s literature that is based on a popular folk song, “Inch by Inch.” The book selection also has the song and music, including guitar chords, available at the end of the story. Children enjoy singing along with this story, providing opportunities for attending behavior and word fluency.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
May 10, 2011
Baby Animals

Favorite spring themes for young children’s literature include the weather, planting and growing, and baby animals.  This spring we have highlighted specific Music in a Box  musical storytelling lesson plans that you can use during Library Story Times.  This week we will highlight the “baby animal” theme by going down to the farm.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
May 2, 2011
Musical Garden Songs

Springtime is here, and much early childhood literature abounds with themes of planting, gardens, and flowers growing. You can supplement your favorite literature with this theme, as we share a “Music in a Box” idea for your Library Story Time. The format we use for “Music in a Box” will reflect a more inclusive approach for your Library Story Time.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
April 20, 2011
Making a Difference through Literacy

In 2004, Minnesota musician Dennis Warner composed and performed his song, “Beads on One String” for a captivated audience. Impelled by his music and the message of “we’re more alike than we are different” this song became the springboard for a beautifully illustrated children’s book, Beads on One String. The book is so appealing to all viewers, as the music, repetition of the chorus, and colorful illustrations reinforce the great themes that “bead” the listening audience together. The message of the story teaches about diversity, disability, and provides opportunities for anti-bullying and character education that the youngest elementary student can appreciate.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
April 11, 2011
Rain, Rain Go Away!

Spring is here and what child is not fascinated by the sounds of nature? This blog post will highlight adding percussive sounds to your Library Story Time to implement the rhythms of a rainstorm and the glorious sights of a colorful rainbow at the end of the storm. Describing what happens during a rainstorm and utilizing socio-dramatic play to narrate the events of a rainstorm will also help children cope with weather changes and understand the sounds they are hearing around them, and increase their vocabulary.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
April 6, 2011
Favorite Singing Voices for Young Children

Young children should be exposed to many different vocal qualities and music genres. Young children are not only developing their unique listening abilities, even prenatally, but also their listening preferences and “setting the stage” for future music development and literacy development. The ability for young children to recognize a favorite singer or a musical instrument from a listening selection demonstrates listening in other areas of literacy learning such as phonemic development.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
March 29, 2011
Literacy & Listening

The foundation for literacy begins with listening. Exactly what is listening, and how does it impact literacy? How does music impact listening abilities for young children?

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
March 8, 2011
Spring Song Ideas

Spring is finally on the horizon, and a great way to celebrate spring is through music. Spring is for baseball, kite flying, bicycle rides, baby animals, raindrops, rainbows, sunshine and planting. This blog with feature children’s folksongs sung throughout the world that entice us all to “feel good” about the sunshine!

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
February 24, 2011
What a Wonderful World - Music In a Box

Louis Armstrong was not only an African American jazz artist. He was an international ambassador of goodwill through his compositions and performances. During the 1960s, Louis Armstrong performed throughout the world, playing his trumpet and singing such hits as “Hello Dolly.” He broke many barriers through his music, his charisma, and his tenacity to share his love and joy of music. One of the greatest gifts we received from Louis Armstrong is his recording of the song, “What a Wonderful World.” This song was transformed into a beautiful children’s story that we wish to highlight in today’s Musical Storytelling Blog.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
February 22, 2011
Black History Month

There is a plethora of children’s literature that our young readers can experience that describes the history of African Americans. One of the newest books was written by our President, Barack Obama, Of Thee I Sing. Incorporating children’s literature that is representative of Black America is very important to all young children throughout the year, and especially during Black History Month.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
February 11, 2011
Baby Library Story Time

Using musical elements in your Baby Library Story Time will add avenues of learning for both parents/caregivers and their children. Successful elements of Baby Library Story Time would include the musical elements found in rhythm, rhyme, vocal play, creative movement, and audiation. Brain research indicates that music enhances all areas of the brain-including emotions. Elements inherent in music will assist with focus and also create a nurturing environment for parent/caregiver and their child.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
February 4, 2011
Library Baby Story Time Suggestions

The past two articles have focused on Cognitive Learning Theories. Let’s put those theories into action by creating the foundations for a successful Baby Story Time.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
January 24, 2011
Cognitive Learning Theories in Action

Last week we described cognitive learning theories and how music could be used as a teaching tool -- especially in literacy development. Today’s post will illustrate how music can be used as the glue to meet many different learning styles found in a multi-age Family Library Story Time.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
January 19, 2011
Cognitive Learning Theories in Practice!

Movement paired with music and verbal cues teaches so many different literacy concepts. The music can tell a story (Peter and the Wolf, Nutcracker), and is narrative. Programmatic music (Peer Gynt by Edvard Grieg, The Four Seasons by Vivaldi, Le Mer and Claire De Lune by Claude Debussy, Sorcerer’s Apprentice) tells a story without words, but through the melody, dance (movement) and rhythm structure. Music and movement can reinforce directionality and impulse control such as by “stopping and starting to music.” Dance form has specific structures which are literacy based (slide, twirl, gallop, march), or based on mathematical patterns (ABA form).

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
January 10, 2011
Linking Literacy and Movement

The New Year brings us opportunities to look at the past and to make goals for the future. How can we promote and encourage literacy with the very youngest of our readers? What can we do to promote and encourage library usage for all ages? Musical Storytelling provided at local libraries is providing new avenues of literacy for young children and their caregivers and families. YOU are making an incredible difference through developing your own “Music in A Box” curriculum and providing developmentally appropriate, meaningful, implicit literacy experiences for young children and providing excellent teaching models for caregivers and families who want to encourage literacy at home and throughout the community.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
December 16, 2010
Winter Weather - Music in a Box

A favorite MacPhail Winter Weather lesson includes musical “Snow Songs” and “Winter Dressing Songs” integrated with the story, The Jacket I Wear in the Snow, written by Shirley Neitzel and illustrated by Nancy Winslow Parker. Pictures instead of words are used to describe the winter-weather clothing needed for a child to go outside for snowy, cold-weather play. These pictures add to the enjoyment of the young readers who can label the word pictures to participate in reading the story.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
December 9, 2010
Favorite Early Childhood Themes

Young children learn best through authentic and meaningful experiences. This week our young children in Minnesota are experiencing SNOW and COLD. This is an opportune time to utilize the Minnesota winter weather as a theme for Musical Storytelling. Adding these musical elements will enhance your literature themes based on such literature classics for children: A Snowy Day, The Jacket I Wear In the Snow, The Mitten, and Snow.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
December 6, 2010
Music in a Box: Train!

Last week’s blog highlighted ideas that you could add into a “Music in a Box” lesson with literature based on a transportation theme. This week- a sample lesson is included.

Young children love trains. Add a great story with musical elements, and you will have a highly interactive Musical Storytelling time.

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard
November 10, 2010
Family Storytimes

Last week our Blog focused on the unique needs occurring during Family Story Time (multiage groupings). This week we will highlight your suggestions and examples for creating a successful Family Story Time. We will now incorporate a “Music in A Box” group activity that you created at our last MELSA Musical Storytelling presentation, with additional teaching strategies and increased examples using music to enhance your story time.

Music is one of the great tools for “gluing together” different abilities typically found in Family Story time groups. Your Family Story time will be more successful using musical extensions and activities!

By Dianna Babcock & Cheryl Henningsgaard