Using books in the elementary music classroom is a strong belief of mine. In a drop-down menu beneath the Music & Literacy navigation tab in the top right, you can find links about this topic. One page is about the colorful reading corner in my classroom. Another has a PDF of all my books and the musical concepts I use them with. My library consists of an assortment of both musical books (Freddie the Frog, Buzz and Ollie) and non-musical books (My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss for teaching tone colors). Below is some general information about literacy in music.
Purpose: For children to hear what a fluent reader and voice inflection sounds like, to enhance vocabulary (both musical and non-musical) and to provide children other examples of how books can be used and how important reading is.
When choosing a book, look for: Repetitive phrases, stories with musical concepts, a great, fun story that you can arrange a short song to with it, an opportunity to use pitched and non-pitched instruments to enhance the reading of the book (sound effects) or an opportunity for children to dramatize/act out the story.
Some helpful tips: Read with expression and be dramatic. Also, talk to classroom teachers - see what they are teaching and when, so you can correlate your poetry, farm, ocean or bug unit with them (especially Kindergarten!). And, use your resources – Scholastic Book Fair, librarian, library, literacy coach.
Here are some musical concepts that can be taught using books:
1. Voices: speaking versus singing, I’m a Little Teapot by Iza Trapani
2. Improvisation: students choose instruments to represent characters or sounds in the book.
3. Composition: end of the year project for 4th/5th graders, groups add music to book in some way.
4. Dramatization: act out the story while others are playing music, Little Bunny Foo Foo, Jack and Jill.
5. Identifying Instruments: the more instruments are used with a book, the easier it will be for students to recognize and play them correctly, Froggy books
Using books and telling stories in music class is a great way to show kids that reading is fun and there are different, exciting things you can do with a book… not just read it silently!