The Connection Between Literacy and Music

Have you ever heard a song come on, and the second you hear it your mind is instantaneously flooded with memories? Maybe you remember something from your childhood, or maybe it’s a song you haven’t heard in years but somehow you remember every single word. Have you ever wondered how you could always remember song lyrics, but not other (probably more important) information?

In a book by David Rubin, Memory in Oral Traditions, the author says, “Oral traditions depend on human memory for their preservation. If a tradition is to survive, it must be stored in one person’s memory and be passed on to another person who is capable of storing and retelling it.” He says that this must occur over many generations.

Okay, but what does that have to do with remembering song lyrics?

Traditions and tales that last through the years tend to include powerful visual images and they are typically sung or chanted. They employ multiple patterns of sound: assonance, alliteration, repetition, and rhyme. By using those patterns of sound, most of all rhyme, you are easily able to remember the text.

Another way that we remember text easily is through the use of mnemonics, which are powerful memory aids that have been developed over time. More than likely, you’ve used this strategy once or twice. One popular mnemonic in school is P.E.M.D.A.S.

Music also has the incredible ability to provoke positive emotion. Music can lead to the release of neurotransmitters that are associated with reward, such as dopamine. People use music in their everyday lives to regulate, enhance, and even diminish undesirable emotions (e.g. stress, fatigue). I use music on my morning drives to work ro wake me up, get me in a good mood, and make my morning commute more enjoyable. How do you use music in your life?

Music is powerful

Some call music a universal language, while others call it the window to the soul. Have you ever made a mix-tape for someone you had a crush on? You were using music to convey an emotion that you were feeling for that person. Nowadays, sharing music is much easier. Spotify has shareable playlists, Instagram allows you to add music to your stories now, and look at Tik Tok, creators from around the world are sharing music with each other. Music has taken an extremely important role in our society–and in our every day lives.

We use music as an extension of ourselves.

Music is a powerful form of expression. The world of education has not yet realized music’s potential to aid young learners and reduce the achievement gap that has not changed for over 30 years.

https://www.nationsreportcard.gov/reading/nation/achievement/?grade=4

If music is so powerful, then why isn’t it being used in schools? Music evokes positive emotions, makes repetition fun, allows for diversity in genre, and fosters high retention and recall. It sounds like a no-brainer to me!

Here at Lyrics2Learn, we understand the importance of music. Our program uses music as a tool to get kids excited about reading. Students get to listen and read along (even sing along!) repeatedly and chorally with a diverse array of musicians, which allows them to emulate expression, pace and accuracy to develop reading fluency. The music heightens their engagement while the daily repetition, rhythm, and rhyme increases retention and background knowledge related to each weekly story. This allows students to more successfully understand, retain, and apply text.

Music and song have been effective tools for learning and communication that predate language.

“Music may be the activity that prepared our pre-human ancestors for speech, communication, and for the very cognitive, representational flexibility necessary to become humans.” – Daniel Levitin

Music is the universal language, yet it is increasingly more absent in today’s education. So let’s change that.

To hear more about how Lyrics2Learn implements music in reading, email us at admin@lyrics2learn.com.

3 Emerging Trends in EdTech

Technology has influenced almost every facet of society, especially the education industry, and with COVID-19, the EdTech world has been forced to up its game.

Education in technology has continued to be a crucial aspect in schools since the very beginning of the worldwide pandemic. Schools everywhere have had to adapt their schedules, curriculum, and even they ways in which they teach. With this new way of learning becoming increasingly more popular, it seems EdTech is going nowhere soon.

Accessibility to Education

Most people will agree that schools and districts were unprepared for the large-scale shift in education that the pandemic undoubtedly caused. While a lot of schools had already implemented e-learning within their classrooms, that switch without any sort of transitionary period was traumatic for everyone involved.

However, through the pandemic and moving forward, teachers have learnt new techniques and strategies that students can benefit from. Making education accessible is now a priority for for schools, and EdTech companies alike. Education’s accessibility is a problem that has existed for quite some time, even before the global pandemic began.

Research suggests that when technology is effectively implemented in the classroom it may help to bridge both educational and social gaps. Now more than ever, technology can be used for transformative instruction and can have a lasting, and real impact on how students think, learn, communicate, and connect with the world.

Here at Lyrics2Learn (L2L), we have made it a priority for students to have access to our science-based reading program. For students, we have developed a mobile app that can be used on any mobile device. We have also made teaching with L2L easier on parents and teachers alike. Automatic weekly reports, the ability to send students their login information, and real-time student use reporting are just a few of the improvements that we have made to make learning more accessible for everyone. Which brings us to the next emerging trend in EdTech.

Data-Driven Insights and Reporting

Recent distance learning has forced students to not only learn from within their homes, but also complete homework and take tests from home. The lack of teacher oversight can create stress for both the student and the teacher. Here’s where EdTech has the ability to swoop in and assist all parties involved and solve this problem.

Online programs and mobile apps can allow teachers to administer tests and generate immediate results. This real-time reporting combined with automated technology such as machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) allows the teacher to closely monitor student progress, or lack thereof, effectively.

Lyrics2Learn offers real-time progress reporting and immediate online support for all users. Our daily embedded assessments provide instantaneous evidence of student progress and skill mastery. In addition to our real-time reporting for teachers, our new remote features allow teachers to automate the communication of results and progress to administrators, parents, and interventionists.

Engaging, Game-Based Curricula

Now more than ever, schools are more frequently adopting game-based curricula as a means for engaging their students in a creative way.

Gamification is a learning strategy that involves using games and rewards to teach students–it’s not a new concept by any means, and it comes with both advocates and critics.

Some educators believe that games and rewards, when used correctly, can tap into a child’s intrinsic motivation to learn, the benefits of which could have a profound, lasting effect.

Lyrics2Learn’s scaffolded lessons incorporate a structure similar to a game-based curricula. Our program offers fun and engaging fluency videos for students to sing along or read along with, after which they have the opportunity to earn awards and achievements by completing their lesson quizzes.

To hear more about Lyrics2Learn and what we are doing to beat the curve in the EdTech world, email us at admin@lyrics2learn.com.

What’s Coming to Lyrics2Learn

We’re always adding new features and improvements to help you– the teacher, get the most out of our reading program.

Lyrics2Learn–beta program in the works!

Here at Lyrics2Learn (L2L), our number ONE mission is to get every child reading at grade level. How do we accomplish this? Through fun, engaging, and science-based lessons that fuse music with reading to get kids excited to learn. With that, we are excited to announce that we are in the process of building an addition to the Lyrics2Learn curriculum…

Lyrics2Learn Phonemic Awareness

Our new program will use a music-based, multi-sensory methodology to help students develop phoneme-grapheme correspondence familiarity prior to adaptive, evaluative skill practice. Okay, but what does all of that mean?

Lyrics2Learn Phonemic Awareness (L2L PA) will implement music (similar to our current program for K-5th) to target phoneme-grapheme relationships. The new program is catered towards Pre-K through first-grade students, and will build the foundation needed to get them reading proficiently by the end of the third-grade. Our lessons will begin with a video that will incorporate music, rhythm, rhyme, repetition, animation, and movement to facilitate authentic student interaction and retention of phonetic concepts. Following each learning video students will have the opportunity to apply skills in an adaptive and scaffolded manner, with each lesson building off the last.

The motivation behind L2L PA

Each year, 5.2 million kids attend public kindergarten or preschool, only 35% of those children will read proficiently by the end of third-grade. There is a huge need for science-based supplements that allow students greater accessibility, engagement, and affordability.

Since 1992, our Nation’s Report Card (NAEP) has indicated minimal improvement in reading. Nationwide, only 35% of our fourth-grade students read at a proficient level. This disparity is even more evident among minorities and those who are socioeconomically disadvantaged.

To address this issue, conclusive research exists in support of what students must master to become successful readers. The areas of reading crucial to a child’s success include phonemic awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. Of those five areas, phonemic awareness is the single strongest indicator for a child’s reading success. Strong phonemic awareness helps children increase their abilities to decode and understand what they are reading. Which brings us back to Lyrics2Learn Phonemic Awareness.

By giving children repeated interaction with engaging, phoneme targeted stories and songs, we can develop proper background knowledge to more successfully learn and apply phoneme/grapheme correspondence and facilitate orthographic mapping.

The power of music

Music provokes and associates positive emotion to make repetition fun. Music also allows for diversity in genre and fosters high retention and recall. The world of education has not yet realized music’s potential to aid young learners and reduce the achievement gap that has not changed for over 30 years. Lyrics2Learn Phonemic Awareness will harness music’s potential to support teachers with the challenge of developing phonemic awareness for every Pre-K through first-grade child.

To hear more about the power of music in education, check out our other post where we dive into music and its potential.

To learn more about Lyrics2Learn Phonemic Awareness or to become a beta-tester, please reach out to us via email at admin@lyrics2learn.com.

4 Ways to use Lyrics2Learn to Engage Young Readers

Picture this:

You are a second grade teacher and you spent hours planning out your lessons and you’re pretty sure you nailed it. You get to class the next day and you begin reading rotations, there’s one problem though– your students look bored and completely checked out, your worst nightmare.

It’s no secret that students who are engaged and actively participating in class are more successful and perform better than those who are not.

In order for meaningful learning to occur, engagement needs to be cultivated. Providing students with an opportunity to engage in exciting, diverse, and culturally-relevant learning experiences will have a lasting impact. So here’s the question, how exactly do you keep your students engaged and motivated to learn?

Through music!

Music is used to enhance peoples’ connection to words, language, and messaging in every aspect of society. Music is a tool that can be used to help kids feel what they read and develop text-to-world connections. Not only does music generate excitement, but it allows students to interact with text, retain, and apply information more effectively. 

Lyrics2Learn is a comprehensive reading tool that is both science-based and proven by research. Our scaffolded, music-based lessons are standards-aligned and are sure to get your students singing, rapping, and dancing around the classroom. All Lyrics2Learn lessons were designed with one mission in mind, to get every child reading at or above grade level. There are many different ways to use Lyrics2Learn with your students, but here are some of our favorites.

Let your students use Lyrics2Learn independently as a reading center

Independent work time is an essential component of a balanced literacy program. There is evidence that independent reading can improve academic performance, increase a student’s motivation and confidence, as well as develop awareness of their limitations and their ability to manage and overcome those limitations. Literacy centers, or reading centers are designed to provide students with an opportunity to work either independently, or collaboratively.

Lyrics2Learn makes it easy for students to access their lessons and work independently. Students have their own dashboard to view their progress and complete assignments. Our systematic lesson progression will help students build reading fluency and background knowledge and apply what they’ve learned through leveled, interactive quizzes.

Use Lyrics2Learn as a whole group activity for the entire class

Properly structured whole group activities and projects can reinforce skills that are relevant to both group and individual work. Group work can also be an effective method to motivate and engage students, encourage active learning, and develop communication and decision-making skills.

Completing lessons and activities together as a class is a fun and effective way to help your students become fluent readers. Each of our lessons begins with a fluency video set to music– and trust me when I say that our videos come in all different types of music genres. Your students can rap, sing, wiggle and dance, or even read along quietly to themselves, but participation is the key. You then have the option to complete the quiz together as a class, or you can print out the worksheets and have students complete them on their own.

Use Lyrics2Learn for small group intervention sessions

Small-group reading intervention is an effective and research-based strategy that can address the literacy needs of your students. Increased peer interaction and the ability to learn content at a comfortable pace and level are only a couple of the benefits in small group instruction.

Completing lessons in smaller groups can be beneficial to students who are struggling or lacking the confidence to read out loud in a whole group setting. Lyrics2Learn’s lesson reporting features makes it easy for teachers to see where students may need a little extra support.

Assign Lyrics2Learn for daily reading homework

Our scaffolded lessons are broken down into four lesson days. Days 1 through 3 each consist of a fluency video (set to music!) and one short quiz, and day 4 is an optional, critical thinking exercise. Each lesson day takes only 15 minutes to complete from start to finish–that’s only 45 minutes per week to become a fluent reader!

Our day 1 lesson begins with the fluency video read along which we suggest students read along with three times before moving on to the quiz. The choral, repeated reading strategy allows students to build fluency and background knowledge. The day 1 quiz includes Depth of Knowledge (D.O.K.) 1 literal concepts such as citing details, sequencing and following multi-step directions.

Day 2 and 3 also includes the same fluency video from day 1 (practice makes perfect!). The day 2 quiz includes D.O.K. 2 standards such as inference and paraphrasing as well as concepts like main idea, vocabulary, and compare and contrast. Finally, day 3 covers D.O.K 2 and 3 complex concepts such as identifying significant events, figurative language, and character traits.

How do you engage your students in the classroom? Tell us in the comments what your favorite strategies for student engagement are, we’d love to hear!