Sing into Reading: the Blog

Little ones love literacy.

Music is magic! 

Freedom to Read and Sing!

 

We just finished celebrating Independence Day.

This holiday is all about FREEDOM.

What does freedom mean to you?

For me, freedom is not necessarily doing everything we want to, all the time.

(Let’s face it, nobody gets to do everything we want all the time. We all do the dishes and the laundry - even when we don’t want to.)

For me, freedom is all about having CHOICES.

I value choice and freedom.

That’s why as a teacher, and also as a parent, I offer choices whenever possible.

I give my students a sense of ownership over our classes, and I give my kids a sense of autonomy over their own lives.

Whenever possible.

Be free!

Keep singing,
Risa

'Cause I'm Free
by Risa Cohen

I’ll do what I want to do
And I’ll say what I want to say
And I’ll be what I want to be
‘Cause I’m free

I’ll do what is good for you
And I’ll say what is good for us
And I’ll be what is good for me
‘Cause I’m free

I’m kind! I am kind to you.
And...

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Shared Reading

 

Shared Reading is an important component of any balanced literacy curriculum. Shared Reading happens in the classroom when a teacher uses a bigbook or a chart with large print to read not to the class, but with the class. All members of the class "share" the reading. Shared reading mimics the laptime experience a child gets at home with a parent. Songs make terrific shared reading texts. In a classroom, songs can be printed in large print on chart paper. At home, songs can be written or printed on regular sized paper.

Over the course of a week, reading the same shared reading text daily, you may go through progressive lessons. The first day, you might do modeled reading. The next day you might leave out the last (rhyming or predictable) word of a line, allowing the child to read that word. This technique is called oral cloze. The next day, you might act out the song, or move to it. Then you might do choral reading, with everyone reading together like a chorus. For a...

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Balanced Literacy With Music

 

What is Balanced Literacy? Balanced Literacy is a reading curriculum that includes Read Aloud, Modeled Writing, Independent Writing, Independent Reading, Shared Reading, Interactive Writing, Guided Reading, Phonics and Word Study.

I learned about Balanced Literacy at The Reading and Writing Project (TRWP) at Teachers College, Columbia University. What I do differently at Sing into Reading is that I use songs as our texts. 

Keep singing,

Risa

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A Child in the World: The Developmental-Interaction Approach

 

At Bank Street College,  I learned the developmental-interaction approach, or "The Bank Street Approach." This progressive approach to education is a whole-child approach that places as much value on a child's social and emotional development as on a child's academic development. At Sing into Reading, we value SEL (social emotional learning). 

One of the hallmarks of the developmental-interaction approach is the child-centered social studies curriculum. We start our social studies curriculum with the center: the self. A child moves through the curriculum in ever-widening arcs of experience, progressing through a family study, a community study, national studies, international studies, and then astronomy. Just as Maria Montessori talks about "sensitive periods" - periods of time when a child is easily able to learn certain concepts, the developmental-interaction approach recognizes that a child is self-centered, and that their interest in the outside world expands over...

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Literacy in Progressive Education

 

I am a progressive educator - to the core.

I received my M.S.Ed. in Early Childhood/Elementary Education from Bank Street College, where I learned the developmental-interaction approach. This is a constructivist approach. Teachers using a constructivist approach facilitate a learning environment where a child is encouraged to construct their own knowledge. Constructivist theory says that students do not simply soak up knowledge "like a sponge." They see children constructing knowledge as a more active task. The developmental-interactive approach distinguishes itself from other constructivist approaches by the emphasis placed on the child's emotional life. In the developmental-interactive approach, a child's emotional life and SEL (social emotional learning) skills are seen as equally important and intrinsically connected to academic skills.

I also studied at The Reading and Writing Project (TRWP) at Teachers College, Columbia University. There, I learned balanced literacy,...

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Montessori Songs

 

Today I presented "Montessori Songs" at the Early Childhood Global Mastermind Group, a group of early childhood educators from around the world. They has asked me to present "Montessori Songs." 

I wanted to share the presentation with you!

Learn songs that help a child develop a sense of self, and their place in the world. These songs are perfect for a Montessori classroom, or any preschool setting. 

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Child Writers are Courageous

 

Child Writers are Courageous

Writers have to be courageous. I model this for students by embracing the process myself. I write and revise songs and stories in front of my students and their parents - in real time - so they can see the process. Just as we model reading and writing, we also model bravery. Indeed, the very writing of this blog puts my ideals on the line and is an act of bravery, a model for my students.

For ten years, I taught Music and Literacy at a school. At the end of each school year, the kindergartners performed songs on stage in a performance called "Spring Sing." Every year, before we went on stage, a couple of students would say they were scared. I told them, "When you are scared, you have to be brave. Being brave is doing what you know you need to do, even if it's scary."

The goal of perfection is a dangerous one that breeds inaction and fear. Perfectionism results in fear because we know that perfection is unattainable. Letting go of perfectionism and...

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New Year

 

Happy New Year!

 January is my favorite month of the year. It's my birthday month, and, in January we celebrate one of our country's heros: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

I also enjoy setting New Year's goals. Let's be clear - I always enjoy personal development - any time of year.

The concept of a year, and time in general, is enigmatic. Time is a continuum, and dividing it into units - seconds, days, weeks, months, and years - is a big concept for kids to understand. So be sure to teach and review it often. Sing days of the week songs, and months of the year songs. Sing "It's a New Year!"

It's hard for grownups to understand time, too. All I know is, the older I get, the faster it moves.

I wrote a new song, "It's a New Year." Listen to it on the blog, and let me know what you think of it.

Ask your children (four and older) what they want to do this year. Maybe they want to learn to ride a bike, swim, or tie their shoes. Maybe they want to sing more. Or, maybe they...

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Gratitude Journal

 

Gratitude is a two-way street. The more you give, the more you get. 

I am receiving gratitude from people who are thankful for the Thanks and Giving Celebration. Here’s the thing: I am so grateful to you for supporting this dream of mine to teach literacy through music and movement.

Choose gratitude. Every minute of every day you have a choice. You can choose to complain about what you do not have, or be thankful for what you do. Choose appreciation. Choose gratitude. You can find things to be thankful for, even when things are not going well. That's when it is especially important to practice gratitude.

Gratitude, like love, creates what I call "rosy moments." Cherish them. Savor them. Make them last. Writing down what you are grateful for will help you remember the rosy moments and make them last longer.

 There are many benefits of using a gratitude journal, including closer relationships, improved physical health, reduced aggression, better sleep,...

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Gratitude

 

This blog is one you can share with the kids. 

I talk about choosing appreciation and gratitude.

Please join me November 27 at 11:30 am EDT for the Thanks and Giving Celebration, a free sing-along for kids and their grownups. Sign up here: www.singintoreading.com/thanks-and-giving

And here are some quotes on gratitude for the grownups:

Stephen Richards: “When you express gratitude for the blessings that come into your life, it not only encourages the universe to send you more, it also sees to it that those blessings remain.”

Todd Stocker: “Thankfulness creates gratitude which generates contentment that causes peace.”

Zig Ziglar: “Gratitude is the healthiest of all human emotions. The more you express gratitude for what you have, the more likely you will have even more to express gratitude for.”

Henri Frederic Amiel: “Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness...

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