Monday, November 26, 2012

A little singing, dancing AND learning!

By Laura Eldredge

A few weeks ago, I had the great opportunity to attend and present at the NAEYC annual conference in Atlanta, GA.  My partner Tressa and I presented a workshop called "Through new eyes: Enhancing preschool literacy experiences" on Thursday morning. 

In our workshop, we combined lecture, discussion, lots of classroom photos and movement activities that provided ideas for incorporating literacy experiences into all classroom early learning centers.  A large part of our presentation talks about how literacy links to movement, and how music and movement activities can enhance language and literacy learning - which we demonstrated by having everyone up and doing a little “Book & Boogie” activity!  (You can learn more about “Book & Boogie" by following the link).

We  had a really FUN group doing some "Book & Boogie" during our presentation!

A little singing, dancing and learning with BOB!

After being presenters ... we had a couple of days to be participants and attend some great workshops.  A frequent presenter at the conference was a childhood favorite of ours ... Mr. Bob McGrath from Sesame Street!  How fun it was to sing songs that I remember from the show (all the words come back to you!). As an early childhood professional, it's interesting to look at all those songs with different eyes ... and how those songs tie into early learning concepts for children.  

Bob McGrath presents at NAEYC in Atlanta.

Very calming and entertaining, Bob McGrath gave a great presentation in Atlanta, despite arriving very late the night before due to the winter storm that hit NY that week. And much to our great delight ... he talked about how all those fun songs from Sesame Street can be used with your preschoolers to extend learning topics that you may already be working on with your children at home or at school.

A "Book & Boogie" in the making

One of our favorite songs that Bob performed was "Everyone Asked About You", which is basically a song version of this book. I love the rhythms in the music and the story that is told through the book and song.

In the story, Nora experiences that feeling of being lonely, which children can relate to. So it opens up an opportunity for discussion with your children ("Why do you think Nora didn't want to come out at first?" "How was she feeling?" "Have you ever felt that way?"). When all the very colorful and vibrant characters come at the end of the story, it's a great celebration!  

The song component really helps to make this a story that the children will remember.  And if we add some movement to it as well ...then it will become an visual, auditory AND kinesthetic language and literacy experience.  I think I feel a new "book & boogie" coming!

Laura Eldredge is a teacher and curriculum coordinator at a NAEYC accredited early childhood program in Connecticut. She also co-founded the website The SEEDS Network, as a way to provide early childhood professionals with ideas and resources that support them in their quest to provide quality care and education to our youngest learners. She blogs at


  1. I just LOVE the Book and Boogie series!!!! I can't wait for the next one!!! :)

    1. Thanks so much, Ayn!! We are planning to post another this week, so stay tuned! :-)

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  4. Hi Laura!
    Thanks for getting Everyone Asked About You out there - unfortunately is is no longer available to purchase, and is very difficult to find. I first heard Bob McGrath do it at a conference about 15 years ago. It was only in print for about 5 years. I wrote to Bob, and let him know the situation. I wrote to the publishers, encouraging them to re-issue the book now that Bob was out promoting it. Nothing.
    It is such a favorite with the children AND adults, that I don't bring it out until May each year. ALWAYS at the end, a child says "Again?". It is the magic of Ladysmith Black Mombazo's underlying heartbeat and Bob's lovely voice on his recording of the song to go with the book that makes it unforgettable.
    Should you find a source for the book - I'd love to know. I was offered a used book with pages missing for over $100 once! My child's school library had a copy which had only been checked out once - so they let me borrow it for extended periods of time.
    Yes - it's incredible, but I've stopped teaching it at conferences in my "Sing-A-Book" workshop due to the difficulty in getting the book.
    Great blog!
    Carole Stephens

    1. Thanks Carole! Yes, once I came back from the conference ... I realized the book is very hard to find -- but I was able to borrow a copy from our local library, so at least I know it is available to me locally, but disappointing that it's not easily found everywhere.

      It's great that Bob continues to use this book/song in his presentations - now we just have to see if we can do anything to make the book more easily accessible! Wonder if we can get the publisher to turn it into an eBook?? If I find a source for the book, I will definitely share!

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