• Change the words. This is a simple concept, but not always easy to do. When we learned about kayaks, we changed the words of "Row Your Boat" to "row your kayak" and we rowed down a "river" instead of a "stream", etc. One of my children's favorite songs is "Goodnight Ladies", only they've never actually heard it sung the right way. I sing, "I love Rachel, cutie cutie Rachel, I love Rachel, I'll love her all my life." They think they each have their own song. Make up your own individualized songs. They don't have to be perfect, just entertaining.

  • Do actions or act out the story in the song. Use stick puppets for the animals in "Old MacDonald" or let the children be the frogs in "5 Little Speckled Frogs". Make a giant spider and a tiny one to use for "Eensy Weensy Spider".

  • Have fun with music. Most children love to sing and they don't usually care if you can't carry a tune in a bucket. Just let them know you are having fun. Listen to all kinds of music: classical, country, jazz, marching band, individual instruments, Gregorian chants. If nothing else, it will broaden your horizons.

  • Use repetition. If you are trying to teach a new song to your children, don't expect them to sing it after they have heard it only once. Find fun actions for them to do while you repeat it several times or have them listen for a certain word in the song each time you sing it. After they have heard it 6 or 7 times, they will have it in their head and will most likely be able to sing it back to you. Sometimes more often than you would have chosen. But most of all, have fun!

Few things in life are more fun and rewarding than curling up on the couch with your kids and a good book. If you truly want your kids to learn to read well, then READ TO THEM EVERY DAY! There is no better way to teach your kids that reading is fun and interesting.
Click here to see a list of ALL the books we have read to our children.

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