To Read

Learning To Read

  • Share:
-Hi. I'm Julia Claire. You're watching Parents TV. Music can be a powerful tool to use when teaching your children. Elementary school teacher Jennifer Fixman, also known as Ms. Jenny Knows First Hand. She created a great program that teaches kids to read through song and she's here to tell us all about it. Thank you so much for joining us. -Thank you for having me. -Now, you have over 200 songs that teach children how to read. When did you realize that it would be a great tool? -My first year of teaching, I wrote a couple of songs for the children in my classroom after attending a workshop in which I learned that children learn more with music. And so, I started creating songs about everything I wanted to teach because the children really were learning more. Other teachers in my district wanted to use it. I ended up producing them professionally and doing a pilot study of 80 teachers and through that study, I've created 8 different books with 220 songs. -Wow. Well, you teach first grade. -Yes. -which is really a year that children are developing their reading skills so much. Tell us a little bit about how music helps kids to learn. -If you're using music, you're actually accessing every major area of your brain and you're adding efficiency into the learning. -Now, your newest program or your newest book is Early Phonics. -Uh-hmm. -Tell us a little how it works. -Well, this is the Early Phonics. -Uh-hmm. -And basically you get a 70-minute CD. It includes 29 songs and karaoke versions, so that parents and children can sing independently. And it also includes all the lyrics to the songs and it also includes 10 mini books in 10 weeks of lessons that you can begin using with your children. -So, this isn't something just for teachers in the classroom but it's something parents can use at home. -It's very simple. It's something anyone can use to begin teaching your child to read. -Where do you start if you're a parent who wants to bring a book like this home? -Play the CD. -Uh-hmm. -Just put it in the player, point to the words so that your children see that the music goes with lyrics and then start using the mini books. It's very simple to use. -Give us a little bit of an example of a lesson maybe that a parent could do with a child. -Okay. I'll give you something that any parent can use at home today. You could use the ABC chart that's on my website free,, and just point to the letters and sing a little chant. A, ah, ah, ah, apple. B, buh, buh, buh, ball. C, cat. D, dog. In two minutes, your child will get every letter, the sound 3 times and basic examples they need to learn the ABC's. -So, that's very catchy too. I want to mention the kids are walking around the house singing that after awhile. -It's very simple and there's actually 5 alphabet songs on Early Phonics. -Okay. And you also have lessons for Math and Science. Tell us a little how this work. -Okay. Math is really fun to teach with music and I could teach you about a little character that I have. You could do this at home too. Pull out your hand like this. This is your pizza-eating alligator and this is the greater than, less than symbols. So, if you have five pizzas here and three pizzas here, you could do a little chant and I'm gonna show you an actual alligator that you can get at the side. -And who is this? -This is the pizza-eating alligator. -I love them. -And-- oh, thank you. This is a little chant you could do. Alligator, alligator, sitting in the swamp. How many pizzas do you want to chunk? I'm a very, very hungry alligator. So, I'll eat whichever one is greater. Five is greater than three, three is less than five. I'll eat five. Yum. So, that's your greater than, less than symbol. -And kids must respond really well to this in the classroom as well. -Oh, yeah. They love it. -And how about Science? -Now, with my Science songs program, what I've done is I've taken really advanced concepts and put them into a fun song that children go through in 2 minutes. They wanna sing it over and over and it plays over in their minds. -Okay. Let's go back to Phonics for a second. Explain me a little more about how that method works, the Phonics program. -Well, a lot of people are confused about exactly what is Phonics. -Uh-hmm. -And Phonics refers to the patterns of letters and sounds in our language. So, a very simple Phonics pattern would be C says [unk] in the word cat. -Uh-hmm. -Now, a more advanced phonics pattern would be ING, says ing in the word sing. -Okay. And you see there are some words that cannot be taught through phonics like 'the, of and have'. How can you teach words like that? -You can just make another chant with your children. So, here is a simple chant you can begin using today with 'the'. T-H-E the, T-H-E the, T-H-E the, T-H-E the. Now, if you wanna add a simple rhythm, a simple song to go with that, just add a little tune. T-H-E the, T-H-E the, T-H-E the, T-H-E the. Your children must love you in the classroom. You know, it's funny-- -You can make everything exciting. -That's their favorite song. They love it-- -Really? -because they learn the word 'the' right away. I couldn't believe it when I made it with them and they just loved it. -Very simple and very catchy. -Yeah. -All right, tell me how you can learn to write sentences to a song. -I actually have a sentence song and you can actually become a sentence as you sing, and that's part of the power of music. You wanna start using motions when you teach your children with music. So, here's the sentence song, it goes like this. Begin a sentence with a capital. Finger space between the words. End a sentence with a period and a question with a question mark. Say it with excitement and end it with an exclamation point, yeah. -I love it. I love the exclamation point. -Thank you. -And the period. That was great. Now, what age did you start using programs like this with your kids? -You know, [unk] young as about 3 years old. The programs are really targetted to 5-year olds, that's when children generally start to read but you know, you can learn from music before you learn to read. And so, you'll find and if you start a little early with your children, the reading process is going to go that much faster and be that much easier because of the music. -Jennifer Fixman, Ms. Jenny, thank you so much for coming in. Great tools for parents to help their kids read. -Thank you so much for having me. -Okay. And if you would like more information about the program, you can go to Jennifer's website Thanks for watching Parents TV, your source for the best information for your growing family. -Thank you for watching Parents TV. Our families, our lives.