You Hear Beeping. We Hear Phonological Awareness


Young children love to listen to and imitate sounds! Parents should encourage this natural inclination as often as possible, because this vocal play is actually helping children develop early phonological awareness skills. Phonological awareness is the ability to hear and manipulate words, syllables, and sounds in oral language. It is one of the strongest predictors of later reading ability.

Children develop phonological awareness through deliberate and explicit instruction, with plenty of opportunity for repetition and practice. Instruction should be just like the game below from Kindermusik@Home: brief, focused, playful, and active to keep children engaged. For young children, it’s best to incorporate images to help make a connection between an object and its sound.

Let’s Be Vehicles: A Phonological Awareness Game for Young Children

This adorable vocal play game wants you to come along on a chugga-chugga, vreeeooooooom, putt-a-putt-putt, beeeeeep-beeeeeep, bringg-bringg ride, and be ready to make some noises along the way. Play the “Let’s Be Vehicles” game.

Let's Be Vehicles

For an added challenge, after playing this game with a young child a few times, try practicing the auditory discrimination game away from the computer. Ask: “What sound does a motor boat make?” Make the sound of the airplane and ask, “What makes this sound?”

Looking for more fun, musical learning ideas? Follow us on Pinterest.

Music Paves the Way to Literacy

Improve Listening Skills with Kindermusik

Improve Listening Skills with KindermusikListening to and identifying sounds is the earliest phonological awareness skill and one of the most important pre-literacy competencies. Without this skill, there will be no progress toward phonics, spelling, or text comprehension.

How Children Become Phonologically Aware

Children become phonologically aware in a specific developmental sequence, beginning with the larger sound units (e.g., tapping each word in a sentence), then focusing on parts of individual words (e.g., blending two words to make a compound word, such as cup-cake), and finally focusing on smaller sound units (/b/-/ig/) within words.

This developmental sequence is universal…meaning that children who are English language learners are able to transfer phonological awareness skills from their first language, even when the two languages are very different! And children who speak other alphabetic languages also progress through the same sound-awareness sequence, from larger to smaller units.

Kindermusik@Home Activity that Supports Phonological Awareness

There is such a thing as training an ear. Parents can extend the application of a listening activity like this one from Kindermusik@Home to pre-literacy by gathering a variety of sound-making materials and playing with different pitches, paces, and lengths of sound. The more experience children gain in learning to identify the subtle nuances between musical timbres and pitches, the more prepared they will be to recognize and identify the distinct sounds within words.

Kindermusik@Home activity: “Which Woodwind?” Give young children’s listening skills a workout with this fun, musical game. Kids will learn to identify a piccolo, flute, oboe, bassoon, and bagpipe.

Kindermusik@Home Listening Game


Learn more about how music supports early literacy development. 

Happy World Read Aloud Day!

WorldReadAloudDayIt’s World Read Aloud Day.

Presented by, this day represents a global literacy movement to show the world that the right to read and write belongs to all people. Of course, we think the best way to celebrate is to read a book out loud with children like this Kindermusik mom and daughter.



The Educational Benefits of Reading Aloud to Children

In many homes around the world, this scene of a parent and child sharing the joy of reading together repeats itself over and over again—and children love it! In fact, the latest Kids & Family Reading Report from Scholastic, shows that when it comes to being read aloud to at home, more than eight in 10 children (83%) across age groups say they love(d) or like(d) it a lot—the main reason being it was a special time with parents.

In addition to bonding, reading aloud holds other benefits, whether reading aloud with a parent, teacher, or other caregiver. Reading aloud increases a child’s print awareness, teaches them the cadence of language, boosts vocabulary, and expands a little one’s understanding of the world. It’s no wonder one of our favorite children’s authors, Kate DiCamillo said: “Reading should not be presented to children as a chore or duty. It should be offered to them as a precious gift.”

3 Quick Kindermusik Tips for Reading Out Loud

  1. Read children’s books YOU love. One of the ways children learn to love reading is when the adults in their lives model that love!
  2. Encourage movement by imitating what you read. A child who moves around during story time is still gaining the benefits of reading. Plus, “jumping” when a character jumps or “reaching up high” to pluck an apple from a tree gives children a greater sense of the vocabulary words.
  3. Use funny voices and speak animatedly. This makes it fun for both the reader and the listener!

Watch how this Kindermusik educator puts those tips into action.


Looking for more ideas on supporting a young child’s early literacy development? Visit a Kindermusik class to experience the connections between music and reading!

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area.

It’s Rhyme Time!

Jack and Jill, Humpty Dumpty, and the Itsy Bitsy Spider may not have the most compelling storylines (it’s mostly lots of falling down, right?), but these beloved nursery rhyme characters have entertained generations of children with their antics. Why? Well, nursery rhymes are silly, catchy, and memorable. They also happen to be a fantastic pre-reading tool. In fact, exposing young children to rhymes even before they can understand the principle behind rhyming is as important as introducing children to music before they can create it, or to books before they can read them.

Being able to hear and identify words that rhyme is the earliest phonemic awareness task. Phonemic awareness is the understanding that a word is made up of a sequence of discrete sounds, or phonemes, and it is an essential skill for learning to read. Plus, rhyming is the precursor skill to identifying syllables within words.

3 Tips for Playing Rhyming Games with Young Children:

  1. Ask children to listen for the “words that sound alike.”
  2. Try to use rhyming words that have only one syllable, such as cat, sat, and mat.
  3. When first introducing the concept of rhyming, use words that can be associated with pictures, such as bat and hat. Later, progress to playing rhyming games without visual support.

Looking for more activities that support a young child’s development? Find a local Kindermusik educator at and visit a class.

Rhythmic Dictation and Early Literacy Skills

Do you remember taking spelling tests as a child? Sitting at your desk, listening intently as your teacher said a word, and then trying to visualize what the word looked like while also attempting to write it on your paper or (gasp!) spell it out loud in front of the whole class? Ugh! For English speakers, that silent “e” caught many of us off guard. You probably didn’t realize it at the time but listening, identifying the word, and then writing the word down helped you become a better reader.

Although we don’t give spelling tests (or any tests, for that matter) in Kindermusik, we do give children’s ears lots of musical practice in listening to rhythms, identifying what they hear, repeating them, and using rhythm cards to “write” the patterns down. We call this process rhythmic dictation. So, while we “ta ta ti-ti ta,” clap, pick out the right rhythm card, or play an instrument along with a song, children gain practice in recognizing relationships between sounds and symbols, which supports children’s budding musicianship and early literacy skills.

Rhythmic Dictation Inside the Kindermusik Classroom


You can try this at home or in your classroom, too.  Clap out a rhythm and let child(ren) repeat it. Make each clapping rhythm more difficult than the last. Take turns being the copycat.

To learn more about the benefits of music on early literacy development visit

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer living in the Atlanta area.

Got Rhythm? Rhythm Skills Could Predict Reading Disabilities

Do you know the old jazz standard by George and Ira Gerswin: “I’ve Got Music. I’ve Got Rhythm…Who could ask for anything more?” Well, apparently all that music and rhythm brings even more than a really good dance number by Gene Kelly. New research implies that young children’s rhythm abilities before they can read may eventually help doctors predict future reading disorders.
KindermusikClass_RhythmSticks_TeachChildrenImportantSkillsAn ongoing study  by Nina Kraus indicates that a preschooler’s ability to follow a rhythm and keep a steady beat can accurately predict early language skills and reading skills. While this is only the beginning of a five-year study, the team plans to track the participants to determine whether these rhythmic and steady beat abilities (or lack thereof) can predict later reading disorders, even with children as young as newborns.
“Detection this early could lead to intervention strategies such as music games to improve at-risk children’s rhythmic perception when their brains are most malleable,” says neurologist Gottfried Schlaug of Harvard Medical School in Boston in a press release.

We already know that early childhood music instruction:

  • Improves phonological awareness
  • Refines auditory discrimination
  • Increases auditory sequencing ability
  • Strengthens listening and attention skills
  • Enhances speaking skills
  • Heightens oral language development
  • Enriches vocabulary

Take a peek inside a Kindermusik classroom to see young students reading and playing rhythm patterns:


Learn more about the connections between music and reading at

Contributed by Lisa Camino Rowell, a freelance writer in the Atlanta area.


4 ways after-school programs help students who may be at risk

Elementary Curriculum - ABC Music & Me

Elementary Curriculum - ABC Music & MeFor students who may be at risk, school can be a place to eat a warm meal, access and read books, and play safely outside with friends. When the bell rings at the end of the day, many underserved students leave the safety and structure of school for an environment less than ideal. However, quality after-school programs can provide many benefits for children, especially those students who may be most at risk.
The Afterschool Alliance reviewed dozens of studies on after school programs in the United States. The Summary of Formal Evaluations of
 the Academic Impact of Afterschool Programs found four reoccurring themes that showed how an after-school curriculum impacts underserved students.

4 key ways quality after-school program curriculum impacts students who may be at risk

  1. At-risk students who participate in after-school programs show improved school attendance and measurable increases in learning engagement during regular school hours.
  2. At-risk students enrolled in an after-school curriculum improve test scores and grades, including in the areas of literacy and math.
  3. The frequency and duration that students who may be at risk participate in after-school programs is directly correlated to the positive benefits of attendance.
  4. Students at the greatest risk show the greatest gains from participating in an after school program curriculum.

After-school curriculum uses music to teach early language and literacy

Created by Kindermusik International, ABC Music & Me uses the proven cognitive benefits of music to boost the school readiness skills of young learners, including students who may be at risk. ABC Music & Me can be used as an after school curriculum to help all students experience gains in phonological and phonemic awareness, boost vocabulary acquisition, increase self-control abilities, and grow gross motor skills through whole body movement. In fact, participation in just 30 minutes a week delivers a 32 percent literacy gain!
Here’s what one Executive Director of an early learning center (and one of the first schools to use ABC Music & Me) said about how music, and ABC Music & Me, reaches at-risk children in her community.

Learn more about using ABC Music & Me as an after school program curriculum for young learners, including students who may be at risk. Email us at and request a demonstration to experience firsthand our customizable options for after-school programs.

Music & Movement Benefits: Reading with Babies

mom reading to her baby“You may have tangible wealth untold: caskets of jewels and coffers of gold.  Richer than I you can never be… I had a mother read to me.”  – Strickland Gillilan, The Reading Mother
Reading aloud to a child is the most powerful way to prepare her for success in reading.  .  In her book, Reading Magic, author Mem Fox explains that “…the more language a child experiences through books and conversation with others, the more advantaged socially, educationally, and in every way that child will be for the rest of his or her life.”  That’s some pretty powerful motivation for reading aloud – plus you get the cuddles and the memories too!

Tips for reading with babies

Begin introducing books at about 4 months of age.
This is about the age when babies become interested in objects – like books!  At first vinyl and cloth books will be best since babies learn by putting things in their mouths.  Your little one will be ready for board books at about 6 months of age.
Have realistic expectations. 
Even a few minutes in your lap engaged with a book should be considered a success!  Don’t worry… As your child grows, so does their attention span.  And when it comes to early reading experiences, it’s okay to let your child take the lead.  At this age, it still counts as “reading” if they are opening/closing the book, stacking books, or even just looking at a few of the pictures on a page.
Establish a routine.
By around 1 year of age, you can establish a regular reading routine – after breakfast, before nap time, after bath time – whatever is best for your child.  By now, your child may even have a favorite book that they like to read over, and over, and over…. and over again.  That’s okay – repetition strengthens the brain!
Music Makes My Day - Reading with Baby
BONUS!  For more great ideas for reading with your baby, check out this free activity from Kindermusik @Home: “Reading” with Baby

Professional development for teachers helps preschoolers, too

Kindermusik Music Teacher

Kindermusik Music TeacherMary Kay Ash, the founder of Mary Kay, wrote: “If you think you can, you can. And if you think you can’t, you’re right.” Undoubtedly, she knew more about building a cosmetics business than early childhood education, but she understood the power of believing in your abilities. Now, early childhood research shows that when teachers believe in their abilities it impacts more than just them. Teachers who believe in their abilities also help preschoolers more with language and literacy skills than those who are less confident.

Confident preschool teachers boost preschoolers’ early literacy skills

As published in the journal of Teaching and Teacher Education, a research study followed 67 teachers and 328 of their students for 30 weeks. During the study, preschool teachers rated their own self-efficacy or belief in their ability to succeed in certain situations, such as keeping students on task for difficult assignments. Teachers and students were also observed interacting together in the classroom. Researchers rated the quality of emotional support as low, mid, or high. The team also evaluated the language and literacy abilities of children at the beginning and end of the 30 weeks. The researchers found that teachers who believed in their abilities as an educator positively impacted their students’ early literacy and language abilities.

2 ways teacher confidence impacts students’ abilities

1. Children whose teachers had high self-efficacy showed greater gains in print awareness
2. Children increased vocabulary knowledge skills when they had a classroom that offered emotional support in addition to having a teacher with high self-efficacy
One surprising finding indicated that preschool teachers with more experience had less confidence in their own abilities. “Fresh teachers who are straight out of training think that they can change the world. Then, when they get into the work place they realize how serious and difficult their jobs really are. This is why we think self-efficacy may decline among some preschool teachers through the years,” explained Laura Justice, co-author of the study, in a press release.

Professional development for teachers increases job satisfaction and abilities

One key way to both increase self-efficacy and job satisfaction is professional development for teachers. According to the most recent MetLife Survey of the American Teacher, only 39 percent of teachers say they are very satisfied with their jobs. Budget cuts, teacher and school support staff layoffs, job insecurity, and increased class sizes, probably contribute to the drop in teacher satisfaction rates. The survey did identify, however, three areas that significantly increase teachers’ job satisfaction.

3 ways to increase job satisfaction among teachers

  1. Adequate opportunities for professional development
  2. Time to collaborate with other teachers
  3. Support from principal, other teachers, and parents to help engage and communicate with students’ parents effectively

Increase self-efficacy and job satisfaction of teachers AND literacy and language abilities of preschoolers KindermusikMovesMe-Logo-Hashtag-2331x869-2331x869

Training, collaboration, and connecting with parents are key components of Kindermusik. Our half-day trainings include a hands-on demonstration and provide early childhood educators with a clear understanding of the research behind the method and how it works on different skills and within different learning domains. However, we know the learning doesn’t stop after the training ends. Each unit includes an Activity Demonstration DVD that shows every activity being modeled in a real classroom setting.
Kindermusik even makes connecting with parents easier. Forget about creating and photocopying take-home sheets week after week. Each month every child receives take-home materials, including a Family Activity Guide and CD, which reinforce the classroom learning with reading, writing, and listening activities.

Learn more about bringing Kindermusik to your childcare center, preschool, or school! Email us at

Music & Movement Benefits: Rhymers Will Be Readers

Today is World Poetry Day. And while your child may not be up to appreciating Robert Frost or Elizabeth Barrett Browning

just yet, he/she does benefit significantly by learning (and enjoying!) children’s rhymes and poems. Why are rhyming songs and chants so vital to a young child’s development? Reading expert and author Mem Fox explains why:

“The importance of getting rhymes and songs into children’s head’s can’t be overestimated. Rhymers will be readers: it’s that simple. Experts in literacy and child development have discovered that if children know eight nursery rhymes by heart by the time they are four years old, they are usually among the best readers by the time they’re eight.” (Mem Fox, Reading Magic, pg. 85-86)

Experts agree. Music is a powerful vehicle for learning and enhancing development in every area. As an educator, one of the things I love most about Kindermusik is the way that it inspires children – and parents – to learn together in ways that benefit the child now and for the rest of his life.

So the moral of this story is… If you can’t quite remember those rhyming songs, chants, and Mother Goose rhymes from your childhood, take a Kindermusik class! Remember… rhymers will be readers.

– Special thanks to Theresa Case for this post. Theresa’s Kindermusik program, Kindermusik at Piano Central Studios, is in the top 1% of all Kindermusik programs worldwide.