Reading with children and why it matters to early literacy development

Story timeIn the world of early literacy development, reading with your children matters more than reading to your children. It makes sense. When parents read with children, adults and children both become active participants—rather than passive participants—in the reading process. Try some of these early literacy tips the next time you read together!

5 tips for engaging toddlers and preschoolers in reading

  1. Read with an expressive tone. Children’s books provide ample opportunities for parents (and children!) to try out silly voices, make funny noises, or read LOUDLY or quietly.
  2. Ask questions. What is going to happen next? Why won’t he try green eggs and ham? Do you like to try something new?
  3. Make connections between the story and real life situations. Did you just read a book about a farm? On your next visit to the grocery store, point out the different fruits and vegetables mentioned in the story.
  4. Read throughout the day. Of course, as creators of an early literacy curriculum, we recommended marking the end of the nighttime routine with a snuggle and a quiet reading time together. However, reading together can happen throughout the day.
  5. Read it again…and again. Children learn through repetition. Reading a favorite book over (and over!) again supports a child’s early literacy development. In repeated readings, children recognize new details and begin to make more connections between the words spoken and the printed page.

“One of the things that I really hope for, and have found, is that these things spill over into other areas,” explained Bradford Wiles an Assistant Professor and Extension Specialist in early childhood development at Kansas State University. “So you start out reading, asking open-ended questions, offering instruction and explaining when all of a sudden you aren’t reading at all and they start to recognize those things they have seen in the books. And that’s really powerful.”

We couldn’t agree more!

A musical twist to early literacy development

Early Literacy gains with ABC Music & Me

At Kindermusik, we use musical learning to support early literacy development and engage the whole family in the process. Children participating in our early literacy curriculum, ABC Music & Me, for just 30 minutes a week experience a 32 percent

literacy gain. In class, children participate in music and movement activities that emphasize steady beat, rhythm and pitch, practice active listening skills, and build social-emotional skills. Plus, each month families receive access to the music from class, the storybook, and other ideas on continuing the learning outside the classroom.

For more information about bringing our early literacy curriculum to your school, preschool, or daycare, email us at

14 ways to celebrate 2014 with early childhood music and early literacy

(Source: She Knows Canada)

At Kindermusik, we celebrate new beginnings throughout the year—from new babies being born to new families discovering our early childhood music classes to even launching new curriculum for babies and toddlers. However, whenever a new calendar year rolls around, we look for even more ways to celebrate! We invite all of our Kindermusik families to help ring in—or shake or sing or dance in—the new year with one of these ideas.

Welcome the New Year through early childhood music and early literacy

  1. Make a musical time capsule of your family’s current favorite music with a 2014 playlist. Include your child’s favorite lullabies, get-up-and-go songs, or theme songs from beloved television shows or movies. Expand the playlist beyond early childhood music, too. Be sure to include your own favorite songs that you share together.
  2. Read musical storybooks together. Try some of these Kindermusik favorites to support early childhood music and early literacy development.
  3. Go on a letter sound treasure hunt. Show your child a letter. Make the sound of the letter together and then go on a treasure hunt around your house to find an object that starts with that same sound.
  4. Make a personalized alphabet eBook. During your letter sound treasure hunt, take a photo of each object: M for Mommy; S for stuffed animal; K for Kindermusik. Then support your child’s early literacy development by creating a personalized alphabet eBook with the photos.
  5. Try one of these websites or mobile apps for kids that support early literacy development. The Reading Rainbow app will soon include a music-themed “Kindermusik” island. Stay tuned to hear more!
  6. Read (and memorize!) a favorite nursery rhyme. Nursery rhymes build phonemic awareness as your child begins to hear the differences between rhyming words like “Humpty” and “Dumpty” or “wall” and “fall.”
  7. Play alphabet musical chairs. Here’s one way to combine early childhood music and early literacy skills with a familiar childhood game.
  8. Sing together. One study says talking (or singing) to your young child is the most critical aspect of parenting a baby or toddler. Learn more about the child development benefits, including vocabulary development and early literacy development.
  9. Dance together. The ability to move to a steady beat is linked to language skills. Plus, it’s fun and great exercise for the whole family and gives your child the opportunity to practice all those growing gross motor skills!
  10. Make music and reading part of your daily routine. Routines and rituals help young children make sense of their world and predict what comes next. Each day signal to your child the end of the day by listening to (or singing!) lullabies and reading books together after bath.
  11. Hold a Freeze Dance party. Children love freeze dance. However, as creators of early childhood music classes and early literacy curriculum, we know there is more behind a game of Freeze Dance than giggles and silly moves. Children practice inhibitory control by learning how to tell their bodies when to dance and when to stop. Inhibitory control prepares a child to sit still and pay attention during the school years.
  12. Get out some instruments (or pots and pans) and hold a family jam session. Your child will practice steady beat and rhythmic abilities. Rhythmical abilities show a strong positive correlation with decoding skills, both in reading accuracy and reading prosody. Plus, being able to keep a steady beat helps a child feel the cadence (rhythm) of language.
  13. Play “Name that Sound.” Gather different instruments or objects that make sounds. Take turns closing your eyes and naming the instrument or object. That same sound discrimination helps your child hear the minute differences between letter sounds or phonemes, which supports early literacy and language development.
  14. Enroll in Kindermusik classes! Our classes for babies, toddlers, big kids, and families are loved by more than 2 million families in over 70 countries.

    Contact a local Kindermusik educator today! Ask to visit a class and see for yourself why parents and children around the world love our early childhood music classes.








12 Reasons to Give the Gift of Music

Is there a special baby, toddler, preschooler, or big kid on your Christmas list this year?  Maybe you’re a little stumped about what to give because of course, you want something meaningful, something enjoyable, and yes, even something they’ll love for a long time to come.  Something that even their adults would be thrilled about.  We’re happy to say that we have the perfect solution…

Kindermusik prepares your child for schoolGive the gift of music – Kindermusik, that is!

Here are our top 12 reasons why:

  1. You’ll save on wrapping paper and shipping costs.
  2. It’s one of the easiest gifts you can make.
  3. Kindermusik is movement, music, play, dancing, story time, and more – all rolled up in one great experience.
  4. Early childhood music classes enhance a child’s development in every area.
  5. Music makes kids smarter – the research proves it!
  6. Music classes, especially Kindermusik, inspire lots of together time and bonding.
  7. Young children need a social outlet too, just like their adults!
  8. Kindermusik is a place where children of all ages, all temperaments, and all learning styles can flourish.
  9. You’ll give that special little person in your life something to look forward to each week in class.
  10. The Kindermusik Home Materials will give parent and child something to do and enjoy at home in between classes.
  11. We promise, no re-gifting.  They’ll LOVE it!
  12. It’s a lasting, memorable gift that will put a song in their hearts and a smile on their faces.

For children ages newborn to 7 years, there’s no better musical gift you can give than Kindermusik.  Find your local Kindermusik educator today and get one more thing checked off your gift list!
P.S.  While you’re at it, check out some of our fabulous new baby music classes, including Cuddle & Bounce for newborns and 1s and Sing & Play for 1s and 2s.

Early childhood teachers give kids the gift of gab

teacher reading to preschoolersYes. You read the title correctly. Early childhood teachers give kids the gift of gab. Research proves it! A team of researchers at UNC’s Frank Porter Graham Child Development Institute recently published a compilation of studies that shows how early childhood educators positively impact the language development and communication abilities of infants and toddlers.

“When teachers ask children questions, respond to their vocalizations, and engage in other positive talk, children learn and use more words,” explained Kathleen Gallagher, co-investigator, in a press release.

Along with Nicole Gardner-Neblett, Gallagher created a resource with educational activities for kids that teachers can use to best impact language development. The free eBook, More than Baby Talk, includes 10 specific ways teachers of daycare curriculum can promote the early language development of infants and toddlers. Research-based ideas include engaging in conversations with children, reading books multiple times, using props, and (drum roll, please!) participating in early childhood music activities.

Using early childhood music to support language development

As creators of early childhood curriculum that uses music as the vehicle for early language and literacy development, we know that early childhood music classes are tied to improvements in young children’s early language development, increased vocabulary acquisition, and a greater phonological awareness. In fact, children who participated in our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, for just 30 minutes a week experienced a 32 percent literacy gain! We could go on and on about the benefits of music on a child’s brain development, social and emotional development, physical abilities, creativity, and more!

From the classroom teacher to the teacher at home

Of course, early childhood educators aren’t the only, well, early childhood educators. A parent is a child’s first and best teacher, especially during

the early years. These same strategies can work at home, too.

“We think parents could use these same practices with their young children,” said Gardner-Neblett in a press release. “By using these strategies at home, parents can provide children with the rich language exposure and opportunities they need to enhance their language and communication, helping them to achieve in preschool and beyond.”

At Kindermusik, we support a parent’s pivotal role as a teacher. It’s one of the reasons enrollment in our programs always includes materials and resources, including the music from class, that families can use together at home—or on the go.

Early Literacy Curriculum with Research-Proven Results

For more information about bringing our childcare curriculum, daycare curriculum, or early childhood curriculum to your school, email us at Oh, and by the way, our early childhood curriculum intentionally uses all 10 of the practices recommended!

15 Ways Kindermusik Prepares Your Child for School

Development of the BrainOne of the reasons we’re fond of saying that Kindermusik is so much more than just music is because Kindermusik benefits your child in so many more ways other than just musically.  In fact, keeping your child enrolled in Kindermusik classes is one of the very best things you can do to help your child be prepared for – and succeed in! – school.

Here are 15 ways that Kindermusik’s early childhood music and movement curriculum prepares your child to be successful in school:

1. Kindermusik develops the whole child by supporting all areas of development – musical, language, emotional, physical, social, and cognitive development.
2.  Kindermusik teaches your child to be a problem-solver.
3.  Kindermusik encourages your child to think creatively.
4.  Kindermusik gives your child practice in working cooperatively with his/her peers.
5.  Kindermusik builds the spatial-temporal and reasoning skills required for math, science, and engineering.
6.  Kindermusik develops the social and emotional skills that are essential factors in school readiness.
7.  Kindermusik helps children gain the phonological processing, spoken language, and comprehension skills that are foundational to literacy.
8.  Kindermusik teaches children the rhymes that help them become better readers.  (according to reading expert Mem Fox)
9.  Kindermusik activities help brain cells make the connections needed for nearly every kind of intelligence.
10.  Kindermusik teaches children music through the best music curriculum on the planet, and science and research continue to support the huge and lasting benefits of early childhood music study.
11.  Kindermusik gives children a pressure-free environment in which to practice and enhance their budding musical skills.  (A new study shows that music practice can actually sharpen the brain.)
12.  Kindermusik gives children the opportunity to form early and positive student-teacher relationships where they learn to listen and respect an adult other than their special adults at home.
13.  Kindermusik is focused on process, not performance, thereby nurturing a child’s self-confidence and desire to try new things.
14.  Kindermusik gradually increases your child’s independence as he/she gets older so that he can more successfully transition into the school environment.
15.  Kindermusik classes inspire a lifelong love of not just music, but also a lifelong love of learning.  Any child who loves to learn is sure to be successful in school!

Kindermusik Classes - Enroll Now - For a Child's Brain, Body, Heart & Soul

We invite you to see for yourself how Kindermusik will prepare your child for school, starting with a FREE Preview class on us!


4 reasons why music matters in early childhood education

ABC Music & Me Special Education Curriculum - Sycamore Creek Elementary

Music belongs in our schools. Of course, we know we are preaching to the choir (figuratively and literally!). In the movie, Mr. Holland’s Opus, music teacher Glenn Holland said: “You can cut the arts as much as you want…sooner or later, these kids aren’t going to have anything to read or write about.”

ABC Music & Me Special Education Curriculum - Sycamore Creek ElementaryIt’s true. Music and the arts speak to us and for us in profound and immeasurable ways. When used as part of an elementary school curriculum, early childhood music can also impact the measurable side of education, including early literacy and language acquisition. In our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, children experienced a 32 percent literacy gain after participating in our music education classes.

4 more reasons why music matters in early childhood education and belongs in our schools

1. Early childhood music classes teach children to identify and discriminate between sounds—and focus on sounds that matter most. During the school years, children will spend an estimated 50 to 75 percent of classroom time listening to the teacher, other students, or to media. That doesn’t mean the rest of the classroom noises automatically cease. Little fingers will still tap on the desk, children’s laughter from recess outside will still be heard, students will still whisper to each other, and shuffling feet will still walk through the hall. Developing strong active listening skills, prepares young children to focus on the lesson at hand rather than the other distracting noises. Our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, gives young children many opportunities to develop those strong active listening skills. In one 30-minute class, children may listen intently for the sounds of a specific instrument in a classical piece, use instruments to practice the difference between Staccato (short) and Legato (long) sounds, or even move their bodies fast or slow in response to what they hear in the music.

2. Our brains process music similarly to how we process language. To become successful readers, young children need to understand that words—like music—are made up of discrete sounds. Later they use that knowledge of sounds to read and build words. Research shows that children with these skills are more successful learning to read than others. Kindermusik’s early childhood music classes provide many opportunities for children to discriminate similarities and differences in sound. So, while children gain musical skills in class, they also make gain in phonological awareness and reading development.

3. Music teaches young children self-regulation skills. Self-regulation is the ability to control our thoughts, feelings, and actions. When used as part of an early childhood curriculum, music (and movement) can help children learn to tell their bodies what to do, when to stop, when to go, and when to move to another activity. So, when children participate in a circle dance, transition from one activity to another, and even share instruments, children are learning and practicing self-regulation skills. Those same skills will help children pay attention in school, act and behave appropriately, and transition from one activity to another.

4. Participating in early childhood music classes teaches young children how to learn. In our childcare curriculum, ABC Music & Me, an educator guides the class towards a learning objective with the children as active participants in the learning process. Providing children with ample time to reflect, compare, make choices, express opinions and preferences, and engage in problem-solving activities together teaches children not only the lesson focus but it teaches them how to learn.

Early childhood curriculum uses the power of music

Early Literacy Curriculum with Research-Proven Results

Yes, music belongs in our children’s lives. And, yes, music belongs in our schools. Our early childhood curriculum, ABC Music & Me, uses the latest research on how children learn as well as the proven cognitive benefits of music to support the growth of phonological awareness, focused listening skills, self-control, early language and literacy skills, and more. Plus, our childcare curriculum intentionally creates lessons that give teachers the opportunity to notice, observe, and include children of all abilities in a group learning environment.

To learn more about bringing ABC Music & Me (and the power of music!) to your preschool, elementary school, or daycare, email us at

Or, if you are at the NAEYC’s 2013 Annual Conference and Expo this week, stop by our Booth (#2712)!

4 best practices for teaching young English Language Learners

Teaching Young English Language LearnersEarly language development begins long before children say recognizable words. Linguist Patricia Kuhl notes that a six-to-eight month old baby can discriminate any sound in any language. In early language development, children naturally learn phonetically by interacting with other people. In contrast, learning another language in later years, such as in high school or at university, often includes many hours of learning through grammar, syntax, and conjugating verbs. Je suis. Tu es. Il est.
As our world becomes increasingly global, more and more parents and education professionals see the benefits of beginning foreign language education at younger ages. In fact, the French Education Minister suggested in 2011 that children begin learning English in nursery school when they are three years old.
When we developed ABC English & Me, we merged our decades of early childhood music education experience with the latest research on teaching young children another language.

Research-based best practices for young English Language Learners

  1. The “Natural Approach.” In this teaching practice, the important underlying principle is an emphasis on language “acquisition” as opposed to language “processing.” The Natural Approach encourages children to speak and think in the second or foreign language. This takes precedence over analytical processing of formal language structure and syntax.
  2. Total Physical Response. A young learner responds to language learning through body movements, which helps comprehension and fluency.
  3. English language stories. When stories are read expressively to young English Language Learners, the association of foreign words nourishes both language development and listening skills in the new language. The foreign sounds of spoken and sung English, through repetition, become recognizable at first and subsequently comprehended.
  4. Early childhood music. Finger plays, traditional nursery rhymes and songs reinforce phonemic awareness and the systematic relationship of letters of the alphabet and the sounds connected to each letter. Plus, musical instruction and experience help the brain improve its ability to distinguish between rapidly changing sounds, referred to as auditory processing. This auditory processing is critical to developing phonemic awareness, a necessary aspect of foreign language acquisition. Children who hear English words, even without grasping their meaning, will develop an ear for the language, especially if it is heard musically.

ABC English & Me - Teaching English to Children through MusicRead more about the positive impact of music and movement on young children’s acquisition of English, the research behind it, and how our ESL curriculum puts it into practice.