Music and fingerplays are a wonderful tool for teaching in the preschool classroom. Do you have a favorite song or fingerplay that you sing or say often with your preschool students?
Here’s one of our favorite songs… what’s yours?
Print the words
Choose a favorite song or fingerplay that your students know well and print the words out on a large sheet of chart paper. The students already know the words by heart and now they can make the connection between what they hear, sing or say, and what they see.
Much like reading a favorite children’s book, favorite songs and fingerplays can be presented to young children through print to help them draw connections between symbols and sounds. Remember, choose songs that your preschoolers already know well.
Point to the words
Once you have the words printed out, recite the song or fingerplay with your students again, only this time, point to the printed words as you do. Leave the printed page out for your preschoolers to view on their own. Some will pretend to read the words simply because they are already familiar with them.
Make word puzzles
For older preschoolers, print the words on sentence strips and then cut them apart like a puzzle. Let the children look at the printed words on the chart and see if they can recreate the words with the strips. Give your students clues like “where is the Capital letter H?” or “Where do you see a comma?”. For those of you who are artistic, you may wish to illustrate the song as well to help younger preschoolers identify the different words in the song.
As your students work to explore the words of a song or fingerplay, sing the song aloud often or recite the fingerplay often to remind them of the sounds and words they are viewing.
For younger students, cut the words of the songs into phrases rather than individual words. For older students, try mixing up the words and see if they can put them back together. Always leave the chart out with for easy viewing and reference.