Yes, reading is music to my ears. Why? Because I write songs about books. I teach students to write songs about books. I've seen what happens when students work together to create and perform songs based on literature. Classrooms come alive! Ideas flow. Ideas are exchanged. Students lobby hard for their ideas yet welcome ideas from peers. On performance day, this spirit of cooperation culminates in some powerful songs and some proud students.
Writing a song about a book requires a broad range of skills. First, students must read and understand what they've read. They must extract key information from a text and somehow shape it into lyrics that make sense and that mean something to them and to their audience. They must provide evidence from the text to support their thinking. They must go through the process of writing, revising, re-writing, sharing, listening to constructive criticism, writing and revising some more, persevering, editing, re-writing, etc. Then comes rehearsal, more rehearsal, and ultimately the performance.
I sometimes worry about how this current climate of assessment, data management and accountability is taking the wind out of our sails as educators. There is so much pressure, pressure, pressure and fewer opportunities for creativity and expression in many classrooms across the country.
My mission is to change that, one song at a time. Merging music with literacy is not THE answer, but it is most definitely a unique way to create a lasting buzz in your classroom and elevate levels of student passion for reading, thinking, writing, and learning.
Please take the opportunity to visit my TeachersPayTeachers store (the address is below) and explore some of my songs and ideas. Think about the possibilities with your students, your classroom, your school. I would love to write a song just for your students. I would love to teach your students to write and perform their own songs. I would love to exchange ideas with you about how this might work across the curriculum. I would love to discuss how this approach to writing songs about stories absolutely fits right in with the Common Core.
Music is a powerful teaching and learning tool. Let's work together to make reading music to your students' ears.