DEAR TEACHER: I love music and want to share it with my young children. What are the benefits of doing this? And how should I introduce them to music? - Music Lover
Answer: All parents should definitely be taking the time to enjoy music with their young children, as it is very beneficial to their literacy development. It is a great way for them to acquire new vocabulary and learn rhyming words.
Through music, children are also building their listening and memory skills. Start singing to them when they are infants, and always smile while you are doing it. Don't worry if you don't have a good voice, just lip-synch to songs. As the children get older, have sing-a-long tapes in the car for fun while you are driving.
Fit music into your children's daily routine. Make up a pick-up song to sing as your child is picking up his or her toys with you. Have bedtime and bath time songs, too. As your child gets older, get instruments that he or she can shake or bang along with the music. The more senses that your children use with music, the more they will learn. Besides, you will be having fun together.
Question: What is fluency? My fourth-grader's reading test results showed that she has poor fluency and so-so comprehension. Are these two skills related? - Perplexed
Answer: The National Reading Panel has defined fluency as "reading text with speed, accuracy and proper expression." When students are able to read fluently, they are definitely more likely to understand and remember what they have read. This is supported by most research. Of course, students aren't really readers unless they understand (comprehend) what they read.
Move to the Music
Researchers believe music forges more pathways between the cells in their brains, according to KidsHealth.org. "And while listening to music is certainly key to creating them, it's when kids actively participate in music that they make the strongest connections."
Several local programs offer these "rich sensory experiences" the experts say are so important.
Life Song Early Intervention Program: For ages 18 months to 5 years, at Creative Learning Childcare and Preschool in St. Clairsville; Jennifer Hezoucky, 740-338-8292.
Kindermusik with Judy: For ages 18 months to 4 years, at Children's Museun of the Ohio Valley in Wheeling; Judy Bischof, 304-277-1592.
Musikgarten: For ages 6 months to 5 years, at St. Matthew's Episcopal Church, Wheeling; Bob Troeger, 304-233-0133.
If your daughter's fluency skills are improved, it is very likely that her comprehension also will improve. This is something that you can help her do. Go to our website, www.dearteacher.com, and click on "Reading" under "Skill Builders," and you'll find several things that you can do to improve her fluency, especially the Neurological Impress Method.
- Send questions and comments to Dear Teacher, in care of OV Parent Magazine, 1 N. Illinois St., No. 2004, Indianapolis, IN 46204, or log on to www.dearteacher.com, or email DearTeacher@ DearTeacher.com.