One important practice for encouraging early literacy, that is what children learn about reading before they actually learn to read, is singing. Here are just a few of the wonderful reasons to sing to your children:
- Songs are easier to remember than short stories, so they help develop children’s memory. Think about how even as adults, it’s easier to sing rather than say the ABCs.
- Songs stretch out words so each syllable and vowel sound can be heard more clearly. Kids can hear individual sounds better in songs than in speaking, so they pick up new sounds and new vocabulary. Songs also tend to have a lot of rhymes and word-play, again emphasizing specific sounds.
- Kids love to sing, and love to hear songs. It doesn’t matter what you sound like; your children love to hear you sing.
Below I’ve listed three wonderful new singing books: picture books that are meant to be sung aloud. I love to incorporate song books like these into my story times, and I hope you’ll read (and sing) them at home as well.
Nighty-’Night Cooper by Laura Numeroff (CLEL Bell Award Winner).
The author of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie tells a rhyming story of Little Cooper, who can’t go to sleep until his mom sings a lullaby, and another, and another. This adorable book puts new words to familiar tunes like Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, so you’ll be able to sing right along.
Row, Row, Row Your Boat by Jane Cabrera
Cabrera has added her adorable and colorful illustrations to many childhood favorite songs, and this is her latest. It adds the familiar tune to the fun sounds of jungle animals. Other great books of hers include Over in the Meadow, If You’re Happy and You Know It, and The Wheels on the Bus.
Old Mikamba Had a Farm by Rachel Isadora
Just as in her book, There Was a Tree, Isadora has taken a familiar tune and transported it to beautiful Africa. This farmer has has a baboon, an elephant, and a lion, with great sounds as well as animal facts to go beyond the picture book. This is a real treasure, and so much fun to sing.
Finally, here are a few of my older, can’t miss favorites:
- The Seals on the Bus by Lenny Hort
- Little White Duck by Walt Whippo
- Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
- The Babies on the Bus by Karen Katz
- I Ain’t Gonna Paint No More by Karen Beaumont