Published on April 3, 2014
Using Song Lyrics to Improve Decoding Skills SOMIRAC Conference April 4, 2014 McLean School of Maryland Sara J. Hines, PhD Beverly Stryker, MS Melanie Menditch, MA
Outline of Presentation ● Struggling elementary readers ● Importance of decoding and fluency ● New approach needed ● Using song lyrics ○ Challenges and Inspiration ○ Development of System ○ Why it works ● Case Study ○ Student ○ Step-by-step procedure ○ Results ● Support for Procedure ● Group Applications ○ lyrics ○ lyrics with movement ○ application in other disciplines ● Resources
Struggling Elementary Readers ● A sizable number of elementary students are reading significantly below grade level ● They have not mastered beginning reading skills (National Reading Panel, 2000)
2013 NAEP Data ● 66% of 4th graders are below proficient in reading ● Fourth grade students performing at the proficient level should be able to integrate and interpret texts...
● “There is accumulating evidence that an inadequate ability to decode printed text accurately and fluently may be one reason for students’ failure to meet grade level standards in reading.” (Kamil, Borman, Dole, Kral, Salinger & Torgesen, 2008)
● “Reading fluency is an important part of reading proficiency and reading a text fluently is critical for comprehending it.” (Hudson, Torgesen, Lane & Turner, 2010)
Challenge as Inspiration Zara ● 16-year-old ● Extensive instruction in phonics ● Minimal decoding skills ● Singer in school band ○ Are non- responders to best practices ○ Feel sense of defeat about learning to read ○ Need a sense of momentum to provide motivation New approach needed ● Based on interest ● Based on strengths ● Avoid past negative reading experience Using Song Lyrics to Teach Decoding
Development of System 1. Select song based on child’s preference and knowledge of lyrics 2. Read lyrics of known song matching 3. Reread lyrics until fluent 4. Read “sight” words in context of the song and then in isolation 5. Select “rimable” words from the song to develop word family lists to practice
Why it Works
Importance of Music ● Tuyen, an eleven-year-old who is president of her school’s music club discussed the importance of music: I wouldn’t want to be without it. … It’s not like food; you wouldn’t starve without music. But it makes my life worth more. (Campbell, 2010)
According to Jensen, the rhythms, contrasts, and patterns of music assist the brain in encoding information, enabling students to easily learn the lyrics to songs. (Jensen 2005) The lyrics to a song are, in fact, more easily recalled than the tune because of their greater salience (Morrongiello & Roes, 1990) Facility of Learning Lyrics
Discovery of Sound/Symbol Relationships ● Child has some sense of lyrics stored in auditory memory ● Context and phonics clues allow child to decode ● Tip of tongue phenomena
Tip-of-the-Tongue Alan is a ten-year-old… with what he calls “humming music” inside himself-melodies that are always just below the surface of his consciousness, to be called up quickly: “I sing in my mind-not out loud. …” (Campbell, 2000)
Use with Students at McLean School Individually Small Group
Case Study Constantine ● 10-year-old ● Diagnosed with a reading disorder ● Decoding problems ● Dysfluent ● Weak comprehension, weak language skills ● Had experienced extensive direct, systematic phonics instruction with minimal success ● Interested in music
Our Experience I. Reading Lyrics Procedure A. Assess Appropriateness 1. Select song based on student interest 2. Type lyrics in 20 font 3. (Student listened to song while following along) 4. Read portion to student (point to words) 5. Ask student to reread (pointing) 6. Assess effectiveness
Barracuda lyrics So this ain’t the end – I saw you again today I had to turn my heart away Smiled like the sun Kisses for real And tales – it never fails
Reading Lyrics Procedure B. Independent practice/oral reading 1. Read stanza(s) to student 2. Assign portion to practice independently 3. Instruct student to bring a section to you when s/he can read it accurately 4. When the student is ready, have her/him read orally to you (pointing) ○ if the student has difficulty, you reread the lyrics and re-assign independent reading ○ If the student is successful, keep rereading, adding one stanza at a time 5. Continue independent/oral reading until the student is fluent
II. Reading Words in Isolation 1. Select 10 high frequency words from mastered song 2. Highlight in text (cumulative). Read text with words highlighted 3. Point to words in text and ask student to identify (can use context initially) 4. Have child prepare flash card of each word ● Say word ● Name letters while printing ● Say word 5. Practice, retire once 5X correct, replace
Barracuda So this ain’t the end – I saw you again today I had to turn my heart away Smiled like the sun Kisses for real And tales – it never fails” You lying so low in the weeds I bet you gonna ambush me You’d have me down, down, down, down on my knees Now wouldn’t you, barracuda?
III. Reading Rime Pattern Words 1. Choose mastered word with common rime** (e.g., cat, rat, sat, mat) 2. Determine other rimes in pattern 3. Type words in pattern on both sides of paper (rimes bolded on front) 4. Have child practice--- both sides eventually **Rime ( mean, clean), not Rhyme (mean, seen)
Sample Rime Families ● make ● bake ● cake ● fake ● brake ● take ● snake ● quake ● shake ● low ● row ● tow ● show ● flow ● know ● glow
Don’t Be Greedy!
Results: PALS Words Per Minute Accuracy Pre-test (3rd grade) 56 93% Post-test (4th grade) 80 97%
Support for the Procedure ● High Frequency (Sight Words) ● Rime Family
● Abstract ● Hard to visualize ● No context ● Similar in Configuration High Frequency Words
Why Rime Patterns? ● More accessible ● More reliable ● Avoids short vowels in isolation ● Avoids blending ● Invites generalization ● Similar to technique used by older, successful readers ● No negative associations!!!!!!
Accessibility ● Children master onset-rime level phonological skills before phoneme level (Lonigan et. al., 2003; Stahl & Murray, 1994) ● Relatively easy for children to break onset-from rime; relatively difficult to break either onset or rime into phonemic components (Adams, 1990)
Consistency ● Written English not very consistent at grapheme-phoneme level; rime units much more consistent (Treiman et al., 1995)
Avoids Short Vowel Confusion ● One of most difficult areas of phonics instruction (Goswami, 1993) ● Vowel sounds much more stable within rime patterns (Adams, 1990)
Demands Less Facility with Blending ● Children respond better to remedial strategies that use larger phonological units that reduce memory load of blending sounds together to form words (O’Shaughnessy & Swanson, 2000)
● Similar to technique used by proficient readers Disconflabulation How did you decode?
Let’s Try It! Let it Be - The Beatles ● Listen ● Read ● High frequency Words ● Rime family Words
Let It Be- The Beatles Lit Ot Bi Whin E fond mysilf on tomis uf truabli, Muthir Mery cumis tu mi, spiekong wiuds uf wosdum. Lit ot bi. End on my huar uf derkniss, shi os stendong roght on frunt uf mi, spiekong wurds uf wosdom. Lit ot bi. Lit ot bi, lit ot bi, lit ot bi, lit ot bi. Whospir wurds if wosdum. Lit ot bi.
Let It Be Sight Words Whin E fond mysilf on tomis uf truabli, Muthir Mery cumis tu mi, spiekong wurds uf wosdum. Lit ot bi. End on my huar uf derkniss, shi os stendong roght on frunt uf mi, spiekong wurds uf wosdom. Lit ot bi. Lit ot bi, lit ot bi, lit ot bi, lit ot bi. Whospir wurds uf wosdum. Lit ot bi.
Let It Be: Rime Family Words Whon E fond mysilf on tomis uf triuali, Muthir Mery cumis tu mi, spiekong wurds uf wosdum. Lit ot bi. End on my huar uf derkniss, shi os stendong roght on frunt uf mi, spiekong wurds uf wosdom. Lit ot bi. Lit ot bi, lit ot bi, lit ot bi, lit ot bi. Whospir wurds if wosdum. Lit ot bi.
whon (when) tomi (time) lit (let) end (and) spiek (speak) liek biek piek (mountain) Word Ladder
Other Extension Activities ● Word ladders (time, dime, lime, lame, tame tale) ● Spelling dictation of sight words and word family words ● Games for review ● Compile songs into reader
Rime Family Words Example (Hines, 2009)
Sample Word Ladders (Hines, 2009)
Group Activity/ Youngest Students ● Choose song from website or using song lyrics ● Print lyrics on large chart paper/or project so all can students can read ● Read with group ● Let children listen and sing along as group ● Pass out/share lyrics for each child ● Let children practice reading lyrics in small groups or individually
Group Activity cont… ● Children can read to teacher or partner when they are ready ● Teacher selects words from song that are rimeable ● Point to individual words to decode ● Have children brainstorm rimes and record on board/in a live document ● Print/Share rimes for individual practice ● Each child has a collection of songs and corresponding rimes for practice
Using song lyrics and movement in group lessons ● Response to a challenge with music teacher ● Done it in the past ● Movement while reading lyrics ● Teachers can reinforce rime families and high frequency words in the classroom or one on one setting.
Song Lyrics in the Classroom ● Options ○ Students learn the songs using the methods previously explained (rime families, high frequency words, etc.) in a one-on-one or small group setting. ○ Students learn lyrics independently or in small groups/centers using print out(s) or apps, websites, etc on his/her tablet or computer. ○ Students have song lyrics projected/displayed on a large screen for the entire class to read/sing together.
Brain Breaks/Movement Brain breaks are mental breaks designed to help students stay focused and attend. The brain breaks get students moving to carry blood and oxygen to the brain. The breaks energize or relax. The breaks provide processing time for students to solidify their learning (Jensen) (adapted from Alison Newman)
Song Lyrics Independent, Small Group, and/or Whole Group example: ● What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction- karaoke ● What Makes You Beautiful by One Direction on YouTube via Just Dance 4- dance with lyrics ● Student practice (1st grade student) ● Group performance (2nd grade students)
1. Provide students with a (pre-approved) list of songs to choose from. 2. Older students can search YouTube independently for the song title with lyrics. Younger students should have links available for them to click on. Example search options: ■ Happy by Pharrell Williams with lyrics and/or ■ Happy by Pharrell Williams karaoke Song Lyrics Independent, Small Group, and/or Whole Group cont.
Song Lyrics Independent, Small Group, and/or Whole Group cont. 3. Students practice reading/singing until they know the lyrics 4. Teacher reinforces rime patterns, decoding, and sight words during instructional time 5. Students can perform songs in groups or independently in front of the class Here is a link where all the steps are in one place.
Using Song Lyrics in Other Subjects Alternatives to Pop Music subject area link karaoke video Math Rules for Divisibility Science Bones in the Body by Animaniacs Geography Fifty Nifty United States Grammar Prepositional Phrases by School House Rock
Lyrics website sources ● a-z lyrics universe ● songlyrics.com ● lyrics mania ● metro lyrics ● lyrics.com ● lyricsdot.com ● lyricsplanet.com
Apps app name icon video preview StarMaker Sing! Karaoke Anywhere
Reference List ● Hines, S. J. (2009) Teaching Exceptional Children Name that word: Using song lyrics to improve adolescent’s decoding skills ● Music article MENC: The National Association for Music Education ● NAEP 2013 A First Look: 2013 Mathematics and Reading NATIONAL ASSESSMENT OF EDUCATIONAL PROGRESS AT GRADES 4 AND 8 ● Using Songs to Strengthen Reading Fluency ● Using Song Lyrics Ms. Menditch’s Resources (for student use)
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