The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #111084   Message #2345239
Posted By: GUEST,leeneia
20-May-08 - 11:52 AM
Thread Name: Children's Music and Pre-Literacy
Subject: RE: Children's Music and Pre-Literacy
'I am studying the impact of early childhood music on pre-literacy and reading skills.'

Well, bw, that sounds like a proper academic study. Trouble is, something like that is so hard to do. We can look at a child, and we can examine the child's eyes, but when the child is reading, listening or singing, we cannot study what is going on behind those eyes.

Of course, singing with the kids will help them. But how? And how do you prove it?

Let me leave the world of academic study and tell you a story. Last year I visited a national park, the Cahokia Mounds outside St Louis, Missouri. Busloads of school kids were coming in to visit the exhibits and see the mounds.

I don't have many children in my life, and I was deeply shocked by the behavior of those kids. It was like being in a cage with a horde of squirrels. They were running, screaming, yacking - anything but looking and learning. Dash across the carpet! Yank open a drawer of arrowheads! Slam the drawer shut! Run away!

Nobody was talking to them or attempting to calm them or enforce any rules of safety or politeness.

I'm talking about kids 8 to 12, not 4 or 5. And they didn't look like neglected kids from the slums, either. Their hair was nicely cut and they had nice clothes.

I spoke to a woeful volunteer about the kids, and he told me that this is normal for children nowadays. He did point to a small group that was walking around with an adult, clipboards in hand. (Evidently, if you want the kids to look at the exhibits, you have to be right on top of them.) But he said they were the exception.

So what would music with a loving adult offer to kids? Focus, personal attention, order, and increase in attention span.

Another story: I have a friend who is second-in-command of a suburban school system. (We are not talking poverty here.) I told her about two little neighbors of mine who always want to come over and talk.

Her response was 'Oh God, any adult who will TALK TO THEM!' Singing with them is no doubt desirable too.