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Singing Enhances Phonemic Awareness

Singing songs help children improve their ability to hear and manipulate the individual sounds that make up a word (commonly referred to as phonemic awareness). Similar to reading nursery rhymes, singing songs assist a child in hearing rhymes.

Singing songs can also help a child grasp print concepts. When appropriate, use your finger to point to the lyrics while singing. When your child is ready, let him move his finger as you sing the song together. Music also helps children remember things. So it should come as no surprise that most children learn the alphabet using a song. Some even use a song to learn how to spell their first name.

Here are the lyrics to some of our favorite songs:

  1. The Alphabet Song
    Write the letters on a piece of paper, index cards or use Erudition’s blue cards and point to each letter as you sing.

    A – B – C – D – E – F – G
    H – I – J – K – L – M – N – O – P
    Q – R – S – T – U – V
    W – X – Y and Z
    Now I know my A – B – C’s
    Next time won’t you sing with me?

  2. Clean Up

    The Clean Up Song was a family favorite when my children were very young. In fact, I sang it early and often! I would sing the following lyrics as we picked up toys:

    Clean up, clean up,
    Everybody, Everywhere.
    Clean up, clean up,
    Everybody do their share.

  3. BINGO
    Another great song to sing to your child is Bingo. The tune of Bingo can also be used to assist your child in properly spelling her first name. Use the Bingo tune, but spell your child’s name. For example, if your daughter’s name is Chloe, you would sing it as follows:

    There was a girl
    Who had a name
    And Chloe
    Was her name-o
    And Chloe
    Was her name-o.

    Some names do not lend themselves to this format. For example, if your son’s name is Daniel, you would sing is as follows:

    There was a boy
    Who had a name
    And Daniel
    Was his name-o
    And Daniel
    Was his name-o.

    It does not roll off the tongue as nicely as Chloe but it does offer a fun activity to help your child learn to spell his first name. Bingo’s actual lyrics are as follows:

    There was a farmer who had a dog,
    And Bingo was his name-o.
    And Bingo was his name-o.

    Sing the verse again except clap for the “B”, e.g. (clap)-I-N-G-O
    (clap)-I-N-G-O, (clap)-I-N-G-O. The next time you sing the verse, you would clap for both the “B” and “I”, e.g. (clap)-(clap)-N-G-O
    (clap)-(clap)-N-G-O, (clap)-(clap)-N-G-O, Continue singing each verse until you clap for each letter in Bingo’s name.

  4. Old MacDonald

    Old MacDonald is a classic song, which brings back fond memories of my son singing on stage (our fireplace hearth) with a fake microphone, usually a hair brush. This song reinforces long vowel and farm animal sounds – what more can a parent ask for in a song.

    Old Macdonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O
    And on his farm he had a (name of an animal), E-I-E-I-O
    With a (sound of the animal – 2x’s) here and a (sound of the animal – 2x’s) there
    Here a (sound of the animal – 1x) there a (sound of the animal – 1x)
    Everywhere a (sound of the animal – 2x’s)
    Old Macdonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O

    In the next verse, add another farm animal and their sound but remember to conclude your verse with the previous animal(s). For example, if the above verse began with a cow and the next verse added a pig, the song would sound like this:

    Old Macdonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O
    And on his farm he had a pig, E-I-E-I-O
    With an “oink-oink” here and an “oink-oink” there
    Here an “oink” there an “oink”
    Everywhere an “oink-oink”

    With a “moo-moo” here and a “moo-moo” there
    Here a “moo” there a “moo”
    Everywhere a “moo-moo”
    Old Macdonald had a farm, E-I-E-I-O

  5. Hush, Little Baby

    One of my daughter’s favorite songs was Hush Little Baby especially when her father sang it to her. I can still hear her voice chiming, “sing it again, Daddy.”

    Hush, little baby, don’t say a word.
    Papa’s gonna buy you a mockingbird.
    And if that mockingbird won’t sing,
    Papa’s gonna buy you a diamond ring.

    And if that diamond ring turns brass,
    Papa’s gonna buy you a looking glass.

    And if that looking glass gets broke,
    Papa’s gonna buy you a billy goat.

    And if that billy goat won’t pull,
    Papa’s gonna buy you a cart and bull.

    And if that cart and bull fall down,
    You’ll still be the sweetest little baby in town.

  6. Miss Mary Mack
    Whereas Hush Little Baby was one of my daughter’s favorites when she was a toddler, Miss Mary Mack was a favorite when she was older and had better eye and hand coordination – we clap, slap & tap our knees while singing this song.

    Miss Mary Mack Mack Mack
    All dressed in black, black, black
    With silver buttons, buttons, buttons
    All down her back, back, back.

    She asked her mother, mother, mother
    For 50 cents, cents, cents
    To see the elephants, elephants, elephants
    Jump over the fence, fence, fence.

    They jumped so high, high, high
    They reached the sky, sky, sky
    And they didn’t come back, back, back
    ‘Til the 4th of July, ly, ly!

  7. The Ants Go Marching

    The Ants Go Marching is another classic song. It incorporates both numbers and rhymes, making it a perfect song to sing with your child.

    The ants go marching (#) by (#), hurrah, hurrah
    The ants go marching (#) by (#), hurrah, hurrah
    The ants go marching (#) by (#),
    The little one stops ( see activity below)
    And they all go marching down to the ground
    To get out of the rain, BOOM! BOOM! BOOM!

    One … to suck his thumb
    Two … to tie his shoe
    Three … to climb a tree
    Four … to shut the door
    Five … to take a dive
    Six … to pick up sticks
    Seven … to pray to heaven
    Eight … to shut the gate
    Nine … to check the time
    Ten … to say “the end”
  8. Remember keeping it fun always helps when a child is learning to read. Songs are one way to instill basic skills in an entertaining way.

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