The Picture-Reading Connection

ABC English & Me - A Trip to the Farm - Educational Activity for ChildrenThey say that a picture is worth a thousand words, but in ABC English & Me, Kindermusik International is using the research-proven technique of using a picture to help a child learn to read a word.  In fact, a recent study by Chinese researchers again confirmed the impact of a visual-rich context on literacy.
Along with music, movement, and interactive @Home Materials, the ABC English & Me curriculum actually utilizes a variety of pictures and visuals to help reinforce the learning that happens in class and at home including:

  • illustrated rhymes
  • illustrated stories
  • posters
  • flashcards

You may not be enrolled in an ABC English & Me program, but you can help enhance your child’s literacy development in other simple ways.  Here are a few ideas and resources to get you started…

  • Build your own library at home.  From e-books to traditional books, you can buy books new, put them on a birthday or Christmas list for Grandma, or find gently used books at local bookstores or online at sites like Amazon.
  • Spend time reviewing this great list from The Children’s Book Review: 20 Sites to Improve Your Child’s Literacy
  • Point out the letters and words that surround us.  Whether it’s a box of cereal, a menu at a restaurant, or a sign on a building, opportunities abound to highlight the connection between letters, sounds, and words in every day, casual conversation.
  • Label things around the house.  Make some simple signs and label objects around the house.  You can use sticky-tack so that the signs are temporary.  Include a picture with the word for extra benefit.
  • Read aloud.  There’s no better way to bond with your child, create memories for a lifetime, AND increase their love for books and interest in learning to read for themselves.

Try A Free Kindermusik Class
See for yourself how Kindermusik can benefit your child in so many ways… including literacy development!  Try a free class today.

Kindermusik joins the Fred Rogers Center’s neighborhood!

It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…

How many of us as children sang this song with the beloved Mr. Rogers? And, of course, we always answered, “Yes!” to being his neighbor. After all, who wouldn’t want to go over for a visit with Mr. Rogers—and maybe even a quick to trip to see King Friday and Queen Sara!

Will you be my neighbor?

Kindermusik also said “Yes!” when asked to partner with the Fred Rogers Center and be featured on their website, Ele, which stands for Early Learning Environment.  Partnering with the brand that drafted today’s standards, along with NAEYC, for children and technology in early childhood is a great way to showcase our quality curricula & materials!
This position statement on using technology and interactive media as early education tools is a great resource for Kindermusik families who are concerned about screen time. In fact, Kindermusik drafted our official screen time position, using the guidelines crafted by NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center.

Kindermusik’s Official Position on Screen Time
Kindermusik International knows and respects that each family gets to decide what’s best for them when it comes to the issue of screen time or the use of technology and young children.  In creating our new digital tools and parenting resources, Kindermusik has read about and researched this topic thoroughly.  We have aligned our stance with that of the highly respected NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning, recognizing that children can benefit from a responsible and age-appropriate use of technology in combination with hands-on experiences and in partnership with an actively involved caregiver.  We are proud to bring these high-quality educational materials to your family in hopes we can truly embody the very best of both worlds- a responsible introduction to technology AND lots of hands-on, movement-rich, in-your-lap, down-on-the-floor learning.

Spread the News Through Your Neighborhood

Ele is like a library and a playroom where parents and early childhood educators can find online and mobile educational activities for young children. Ele focuses on using technology in age-appropriate ways to improve the language and early literacy skills of young children. A perfect partnership for Kindermusik!
Access to the resources is free and there is no cost to join the Ele community. Parents and educators will get great content, they’re able to make playlists and add favorites, and can join in discussions about early childhood education and digital learning.
Kindermusik plans to add four Kindermusik@Home units to Ele.
Right now, two are available:
Fred Rogers Center Ele!

On Ele, all of the activities are searchable for use at home or in the classroom, by age, media type, and even activity type (listening and talking, reading, writing, playing, arts, and science and math.)

Engage in more Kindermusik activities and support your children’s early language and literacy development on the Fred Roger’s Center website, Ele!
Visit Kindermusik in the “neighborhood” today!


4 ways to make every day National Read Across America (AND the World) Day

Some celebrations should last more than one day. At Kindermusik, we think National Read Across America Day is one such day. It doesn’t necessarily mean we need to dress up like The Cat in the Hat every day, but we can celebrate the joy of reading to and with children every day.
Reading Rainbow Kindermusik IslandOn Friday, we kicked off National Read Across America Day with LeVar Burton and Reading Rainbow to celebrate the launch of our partnership to build early literacy skills in children. With the addition of Music Mountain Island to the Reading Rainbow tablet-based reading service, Kindermusik’s music themed books and videos are featured alongside other newly produced content from Reading Rainbow and their partners. Of course, the celebration doesn’t stop there. Parents and early childhood educators can make every day National Read Across America Day with these early literacy tips:

4 ways to support early literacy development

  1. Let children pick the books. Children will naturally gravitate towards specific books that reflect their tastes and interests. While you might not pick up a book about snakes or garbage trucks or fairies or kittens, those topics might be just the book to delight the child or children in your life.
  2. Introduce children to eBooks and digital learning. Your little one will never remember a time before touch screens, eBooks, and digital learning. Try the Reading Rainbow app for iPad or Kindle Fire.  From sing-along stories to nursery rhymes, enjoy the library of musical tales that will encourage your little one to sing, dance, and read! Plus, music-themed video field trips hosted by LeVar Burton will take your family around the world to discover interesting musicians, music, and instruments! You can try the Reading Rainbow app for free!
  3. Play the part. Children learn through play. Encourage your little one to dress up like a favorite storybook character or act out the story using stuffed animals, Little People, or even the family pet. Pretending to be a part of the story helps children gain a greater understanding of the plot and characters, try out alternative endings, and even understand the world a little bit better. Added bonus: A child “in character” might be less reluctant to participate in certain daily routines and rituals, such as getting dressed or taking a bath.
  4. Point the way to reading. With very young children, reading doesn’t always look like, well, reading. However, pointing to the pictures on the page, making letter sounds, talking about what you see together gives children an early understanding of reading.

As an added bonus in celebrating National Read Across America Day, we’d like to share this video where LeVar Burton reads poetry selections from “I Am the Book”. Recently filmed in the library at Thomas Edison Elementary School – where Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik hosted an energetic Read-And-Sing-Along event for the children. Enjoy!

Looking for more ideas on making National Read Across America (and the World) Day—every day? Follow Kindermusik on Pinterest.


Music & Movement Benefits: Playing with Sound

Little Egg CollectorAccording to the authors of the book Ladders to Literacy, “…playing with the sounds of words encourages children to practice perception, production, word recognition, and memory  for words, phonemes, all important foundations for phonological awareness.” Phonological awareness, the ability to recognize that words are made up of sounds, is an important first step towards success in reading later on.
So, while it may seem a little silly, playing with rhymes, parts of words, or the beginning sounds of words, will actually help your child be a better reader.  And music and rhythm-based activities are a perfect way to “practice” and keep the learning fun.
Ideas for Parents and Kids: Watch the video, “Morning Sun Has Risen,” from Kindermusik International’s newest curriculum, ABC English & Me.  Play with the different sounds that animals make, echoing the sounds back and forth or even making up silly rhythm patterns or songs with the animal sounds.  If you happen to have a different Mother Language other than English, have a little fun making the animal sounds in both your native language and in English.  And if anyone asks, it’s Mother Language Day today!

Leading Education Brands Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik International Partner to Build Early Literacy Skills in Children

Partnership Combines the Power of Music with Digital Reading For Music in Our Schools Month and Read Across America Day

LOS ANGELES, CA & GREENSBORO, NC – February 18, 2014 – Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik International, two of the most trusted brands in childhood education, today announced a partnership that combines Kindermusik International’s research-based musical learning curriculum with Reading Rainbow’s award-winning mobile reading service in a digital library available on tablet devices. New digital content will launch March 2, 2014, in time for Music in our Schools Month (MIOSM), and National Read Across America Day (RAAD).

Music Mountain Reading Rainbow“This partnership with Kindermusik emphasizes the important, proven connection between literacy and music,” said LeVar Burton, RRKidz/Reading Rainbow co-founder. “We know that when young children are engaged by music in age-appropriate ways, they can build skills that are the foundation for reading. By integrating the other arts and sciences, we aim to further inspire a lifelong love of learning.”

Reading Rainbow’s tablet-based reading service, hosted by Burton, guides children on a reading adventure to themed “islands,” each filled with hundreds of children’s books and video field trips. More than ten million books have been read and video field trips viewed since the mid-2012 launch. With the addition of Music Mountain Island, Kindermusik’s music-themed books and videos will be featured alongside other newly produced content from Reading Rainbow and their acclaimed partners.

“Our collaboration with Reading Rainbow reinforces what our own experience and the growing body of research clearly states, that there is a clear tie between music and literacy and language development,” explained Michael Dougherty, CEO at Kindermusik International. “We are thrilled to put our research-based content into some of the best development hands and are excited this new content area within Reading Rainbow will arrive in time to celebrate Music in Our Schools Month.”

While the partnership between these two brands is new, the links between music and reading are not. Research has shown music supports a child’s literacy development in many ways, including phonological awareness, vocabulary building, listening skills, reading accuracy, and prosody. Results from a 2012-2013 study of nearly 300 preschool children by independent research firm, SEG Measurement, indicated that students who utilized Kindermusik’s ABC Music & Me curriculum for just 30 minutes each week showed greater gains in literacy. The treatment group who utilized the music and movement curriculum showed a 32% higher gain in Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) scores over the control group.

The Music Mountain Island featuring Kindermusik’s content will be available in the Reading Rainbow app and the Kindle Fire app by March 2, 2014. The app is free to try and for an unlimited reading experience, parents can subscribe for $9.99 per month or $29.99 for a six-month subscription. Additional information about the Reading Rainbow iPad app can be found by visiting the iTunes App Store here.


About LeVar Burton:

Best known for his Reading Rainbow stewardship as well as his other

distinguished TV roles (most notably Kunta Kinte on Roots and Geordi La Forge on Star Trek: The Next Generation), LeVar Burton comes from a family of educators and is widely recognized for his lifelong advocacy of children’s literacy. He speaks passionately on the topics of early learning and technology and has been a keynote speaker at Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, South by Southwest (SXSW) Edu and received the Eliot-Pearson Award for Excellence in Children’s Media from Tufts University as well as The 2013 Children’s Media Award from Common Sense Media.

About RRKidz, Inc.:

Respected by millions and one of the most watched children’s television series in PBS history, Reading Rainbow has been connecting families to the joy of reading for over 30 years. In 2011, famed actor/producer/educational advocate LeVar Burton and his business partner, Mark Wolfe, formed RRKidz. They hold the global rights to the Reading Rainbow brand through a partnership with series creator, WNED/Buffalo. RRKidz’s flagship product, the award-winning Reading Rainbow app, is a reading subscription service filled with a library of quality ebooks, kids videos, and educational games. New children’s books and reading activities are added every week encouraging children to “go anywhere, be anything.” Free to try, the educational app is available on the iPad ( and Kindle Fire (

About Kindermusik International:

Kindermusik International is the world’s leading provider of music, movement and literacy programs for young children, enjoyed by more than two million families in over 70 countries. For more than 35 years, Kindermusik has helped children and their families discover how music can enrich their lives and lay the foundation for a lifetime love of learning. Kindermusik offers developmentally-specific educational programs for children ages newborn to seven. Kindermusik curriculum is taught by the best educators in the best schools and studios world-wide. Visit to learn more about Kindermusik early childhood programs and music classes for kids.

Connect with Reading Rainbow:


Twitter: @readingrainbow




Connect with Kindermusik:




Twitter: @Kindermusik


Contacts for Reading Rainbow:

Julie Nathanson Teri Weigel

310.854.8191 310.854.8290

Contacts for Kindermusik

Jamie Sterling Lauren Burke

336.543.6218 410.975.9638


Music & Movement Benefits: Naturally Speaking, Of Course!

Kindermusik prepares your child for schoolThe more you expose your child to language, the stronger his verbal skills will be.  Language acquisition is a gradual process that involves many facets of development including listening, imitating facial expressions, playing peek-a-boo, and babbling.  Your child will learn language naturally by hearing it used in context when you sing, read, talk, and listen to him.
Kindermusik tips for…
Your Baby: At two months, he coos and babbles.  In his first year, he’ll begin making vowel sounds (oohs and aahs) and then move to new sounds and vowel-consonant combinations.  Your baby is also learning the art of conversation.  Bring your face close to his, and talk to him.  Ask him a question and let him respond.  He is learning that conversation is a two-way street.
Your Toddler: In a verbal growth spurt, your toddler’s vocabulary expands from about 50 to 200 words.  When your toddler displays emotion, give him the language to identify it:  “You’re happy!” or “I can see you’re sad.”  You’ll enhance his emotional intelligence as well as his vocabulary.
Your Preschooler: Playing rhyming games is a fun way for a preschooler who is developing phonemic awareness – the recognition that sounds make up words.  Encourage him by making up rhymes and laughing together.
Enrolling in early childhood music and movement classes is one of the very best ways you can enhance early literacy development in your child.  We happen to believe that Kindermusik is the best choice!  But don’t just take our word for it… come try a free preview class on us.

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.








Help us name our new Reading Rainbow music island and WIN!

why_music_quotes16Author and winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature Gabriela Mistral wrote: “Many things we need can wait. The child cannot. Now is the time his bones are formed, his mind developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow, his name is today.”
Children need both music and reading at a young age. The research clearly shows how both can impact the the trajectory of a child’s life. It’s one of the reasons Kindermusik is partnering with Reading Rainbow, the beloved leader in early literacy and education. Together we are bringing a “Musical Island” to the RRKidz iPad app. And we need you to help name the island! See below for details.

Within this educational app for kids are different ‘islands,’ each of which has its own theme. Within each island are a few short educational videos (many pulled from the Reading Rainbow archives) and a selection of the best children’s books, in eBook format. We need the help of Kindermusik families in the United States to name the new Kindermusik “Musical Island.”

Reading Rainbow + Kindermusik Island Naming Sweepstakes

Reading Rainbow sweepstakesThe new Kindermusik Island will contain a limited selection of eBooks from the Kindermusik library and some additional videos that Reading Rainbow and Kindermusik will produce together around musical topics (similar to many of our video field trips in Kindermusik@Home).
Help us name the new Kindermusik/Reading Rainbow Music Island! Enter your suggestion by clicking on this link. If your name is chosen you will win a $100 Amazon Gift Card, a free 6-month subscription to Reading Rainbow AND a Kindermusik prize package!
(Mobile Users click here.)

Accepting entries October 9-October 31, 2013. Enter today!

20 family-friendly books about the environment for kids


“I take care of the earth because I know I can do little things every day to make a BIG difference,” writes Todd Parr in his book, The EARTH Book, that teaches sustainability for kids. Children help us see the beauty and wonder in the little things. A walk through the neighborhood becomes an exploration in ants, newly fallen leaves, ladybugs, and yes, even a tiny drop of water on a blade of grass. Support your child’s early literacy development and learn about the little (and big!) ways your family can “go green,” such as recycling activities for kids, by reading books about the environment for kids. Here are 20 to get you started!

20 children’s books that show the importance of sustainability for kids

  1. The EARTH Book by Todd Parr
  2. Biscuit’s Earth Day by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
  3. It’s Earth Day by Mercer Mayer
  4. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  5. Big Earth, Little Me by Thom Wiley
  6. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
  7. Big Bear Hug by Nicholas Odland
  8. The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle
  9. Compost Stew by Mary McKenna Siddals
  10. Listen, Listen by Phyllis Gershator
  11. Emeraldalicious by Victoria Kahn
  12. The Berenstain Bears Go Green by Jan & Mike Berenstain
  13. The Barefoot Book of Earth Tales by Dawn Casey
  14. Me…Jane by Patrick McDonnell
  15. A Leaf Can Be by Laura Purdie Salas
  16. Rah, Rah, Radishes! A Vegetable Chant by April Pulley Sayre
  17. Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle by Claire A. Nivola
  18. And Then It’s Spring by Julie Fogliano
  19. Step Gently Out by Helen Frost
  20. Outside Your Window: A First Book of Nature by Nicola Davies

Become a Super Hero for the environment (and early literacy development)

Pretending to be a favorite character in a book helps children understand the parts of a story, build sequencing skills, boost vocabulary skills, and even supports creativity and comprehension. So, go ahead, be the Lorax in full costume found here, or Mama Bear, or even a leaf floating down from a tree in fall. Your child will love this pretend play and you will love supporting your child’s early literacy development while also learning more about the importance of sustainability for kids.