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Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Songs: Lyrics and Meaning

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Read A Song ~ Re-introduce children to a familiar song by reading/discussing the lyrics. Many times we learn a song but focus on the melody and overlook the story within the lyrics. Picture-Song Storybooks are a great way to explore the story behind the music we’ve come to know from our childhood songs and nursery rhymes. Author and Illustrator Iza Trapani has a wonderful picture-song storybook series perfect for this type of lesson. The illustrations beautifully portray the story told by the lyrics of each song. You can focus on a single book or compare/contrast a few of her song stories. Titles include:

  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider
  • Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star
  • Row, Row, Row Your Boat
  • I’m A Little Teapot
  • Mary Had A Little Lamb
  • Baa Baa Black Sheep
  • Oh Where, Oh Where Has My Little Dog Gone?
  • Jingle Bells
  • Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush
  • Shoo Fly!

Rhythm ~ Poems, Songs and Nursery Rhymes have similar rhythmic elements: movement and rhyme. Discuss the way these elements are used/reflected in those different forms. Another option is to use action songs.

Create a New Version ~ Using familiar songs, discuss how you can change the lyrics to create a new version. Have the child select a song of their choice then change the lyrics. It can be as easy as replacing a few words or as detailed as redoing the whole song with a new theme or setting. Have the child use this form to create a draft of their new version. Here are some suggested songs as ideas to work from.

Favorite Songwriter ~ You can also talk about someone you consider to be a great songwriter and discuss their work. As an example, a favorite songwriter of mine is Ed Roland of Collective Soul. In my opinion, he’s a master musical genius and I love, love, love their music! Since my son hears these songs often, I thought it would be a great opportunity to pick a few and study the lyrics to explore their meaning. One of the songs I chose was Satellite, which Roland wrote for one of his sons, so it was a great example of connecting lyrics and meanings. It was such a great lesson; in fact, we’ve adopted it as my song for my son too! 🙂 You can expand the lesson by asking if your child has a favorite singer/songwriter and explore it that way as well.

What A Wonderful World ~ Louis Armstrong made this song famous (written by George David Weiss and Bob Thiele). It discusses in simple terms the many things that make our world such a wonderful place. A great picture-song storybook of this song is the one illustrated by Ashley Bryan. Discuss this song and prompt the child to add anything they might think also makes our world a wonderful place. This can be used as an introduction to a lesson on our world.

Related Resource:

Songs That Teach Elementary Concepts To Young Children


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