As many of you, I had to take a reading class as part of my requirements to become a teacher.  I think every music teacher struggles making the class meaningful because we’re unsure how we’re going to incorporate reading skills in our instruction on top of everything else we have to do in 30-45 minutes once a week.  I chose to take a different approach to my reading class.  I researched music books specifically written for children and authentic strategies I could use to enhance and support literacy in the music classroom.

Over the course of the next month, I will highlight some of the ways I integrate children’s literature into the music room.  This week’s topic is The Read Aloud.
So what is a Read Aloud?  It is exactly as it sounds.  “Teachers read books aloud to students.  Teachers incorporates variations in pitch, tone, pace, volume, pauses, eye contact and questions…  Reading texts aloud is the single most important activity for building the knowledge required for successful learning” (McCormick, 1977).
(And I may have bought most of them…)
Pitch?  Tone?  Replace pace with tempo and volume with dynamics and it’s starts to sound a lot like music instruction to me! 
So how do you incorporate Read Alouds in the music room?  I use them primarily with my K-1 students in the final five minutes of class.  I see my students for 40 minutes every 3 days.  Although I love my time with my students, sometimes 40 minutes can feel like a long time with Kindergartners.  I started using Read Alouds to help students transition and calm them down before leaving the music room. 
Now, I feel like I should clarify something.  90% of the time, I am not reading.  I am singing.  Sing Alouds?!?  I choose great children’s literature associated with songs and sing them.  Here are a few of my favorites.
Shelfari: Book reviews on your book blog

Because so many of the books I use for my Sing Alouds also happen to be folk songs, I read/sing them twice over the course of two classes.  Students love the familiarity of the story the second time around and often times will begin to sing along too.

Do you do Sing Alouds in your classroom?  What are your favorite books to sing to your students?

In the coming weeks, I’ll be discussing books for instrument exploration, poetry and composition, and favorite books about composers.  Be sure to check back each week!

Oh – if you are looking for a list of children’s books for the music room, check out my “inventory” list.  I’m sharing it on Dropbox this month!