Singing helps us remember ideas, names, and facts. Admit it, when you have to alphabetize something or remember how many days in a month, you sing the alphabet song or “Thirty days hath September, April, June, and November . . .”
Learners who are sensitive to sound and rhythm know that music helps them learn. Music affects the brain, sparks it, gets it ready to learn, and makes us sit up and pay attention.
Young learners sing often. Resourceful teachers write fun songs that make lessons come alive and memorable. I’ve seen classes sing about the books and stories they’re reading, holidays, important historical dates, the planets, and even the “distributive property” in math. (I swear!)
Impressed parents tell me kids bring their songs home. Whether parents can get these catchy tunes out of their heads is another question.
Try the tips below to create your own songs, and help boost your child’s retention with these memory recall games:
Turn lessons into lyrics.
Use familiar tunes – “Row, row, row your boat” or “Twinkle, twinkle,” for example – and just replace the words with your own. The familiar tune will help children to remember the new words more easily.
Turn lessons into rhythm.
I’ll never forget the creative teacher whose students I watched studying for their weekly spelling test. They were jumping rope to the rhythm of the spelling, having fun, getting some exercise, and cementing the spelling in their brains.
Keep them engaged.
When kids are singing, when they’re listening, when they’re involved, they’re not fidgeting. They’re engaged and active. Try asking them to make up their own songs, too!
Keep them learning.
When kids are singing, they’re taking in and processing information. Kids feel accomplished, smart, and ready for more learning. Nothing wrong with that!
Enhance listening skills.
Learning songs requires kids to listen carefully, a necessary skill. When kids are paying attention, they’re learning. Try asking them to repeat the words back to you, and see how quickly they grasp them.
Make it routine.
Singing is an important and regular part of learning time for young learners. It’s a great way to begin the day and settle down. Parents at home know this at birthday parties. How do you get them settled for cake and ice cream? Start singing “Happy Birthday.”
Sing to raise spirits.
Singing makes us happy. When kids need some cheering, some hope, some encouragement, or some consolation, the right song can help jolly them along. It can take their mind off of whatever is bothering them!
Sing about practically anything.
Days of the week, the alphabet, the states, the presidents, the continents, the oceans, multiplication tables, spelling, the Ten Commandments, rules for a game. If they can say it, they can sing it.
Keep the learning active while you’re at it. Stimulate the brain and the body while you’re enriching learning. Or, if you’re in the car, ask your child to clap to the beat instead. Moving with the words will help them stay focused and engaged.
Don’t worry about your singing voice.
Kids don’t worry about their voices, why should you? Sing along with gusto. Join in on the fun and build some memories. Do it now. Soon enough, they’ll be too jaded and “middle school” to be seen with you, let alone singing with you.