Friday, October 26, 2012

Linking literacy with music and movement

By Laura Eldredge

Research shows those of us in early childhood that movement is a young child’s preferred mode of learning – and that children learn best through active involvement.
The same holds true for children's literacy learning. Linking movement activities to story time and other literacy learning gets children more actively involved in the experience.  
When you involve children to physically perform action words (such as jump, march, roll) or descriptive words (like strong, gentle, huge, soft) – the understanding of those words is immediate. The children have heard the word, felt the word and seen the meaning of the word.  And, "the more senses used in the learning process, the higher the percentage of retention" (Fauth, 1990).

"Book & Boogie"
"Book & Boogie" is a children's story time program that we use at local area preschools ... in which we bring together story themes with a music and movement component to go with the stories, which gets children moving and actively learning.

By actively involving children in a story theme with music and movement, it enhances their early literacy development, expands their vocabulary, and helps children to improve gross motor skills and coordination.  When we use music and movement ... the sequencing of movements “accesses many learning modes: visual, auditory, tactile, kinesthetic, rhythmic, vocal, mnemonic (long- and short-term), and creative.” Block (2001, p. 44)
To see how "Book & Boogie" works ... take a peek at the video below:

More online videos are available which provide story ideas, music choices and simple dance choreography that teachers and parents can use with their classroom or playgroup. 

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

Research credits:
Pica, R., “Linking Literacy and Movement”,

Block, B.A. (2001). Literacy through movement: An organizational approach.
Journal of Physical Education, Recreation & Dance, 72(1), 39-48.

Fauth, B. (1990). Linking the visual arts with drama, movement, and dance for the young child. In W.J. Stinson, (ed.), Moving and learning for the young child(pp. 159-187). Reston VA: American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance.

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