In this video segment from Between the Lions, a guitar-playing robot and a kazoo-playing rooster play a song called "Rocket-Doodle-Doo." This catchy song features ...
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- Print the song's lyrics from the Between the Lions Web site. Practice singing the lyrics with fluency and rhythm, pointing to the words as you go. For more skill building, have students hunt for all the rhyming words and/or all the words that start with “r." Ask them to think of other words they know that start with the /r/ sound. Later on, you may want to see if they can dictate their own songs or stories with sets of target words.
- Create a class songbook with a set of your favorite songs (use chart paper, for easy viewing). When you sing one of the songs, try using a pointer to track the words as you sing them. For a challenge, have students hunt for things on the song chart (e.g., words that rhyme, words that begin with the same letter, words that appear more than once, etc.) Some good song titles for this are: “B-I-N-G-O," “The Farmer in the Dell," “The Wheels on the Bus," “Down by the Bay."
- Teach your students some silly songs that include lots of wordplay (e.g., “Apples and Bananas," “The Name Game") or make up your own songs, chants, and games with rhyming words and silly sounds.
- Other good books for rhyming fun include:
Hop on Pop, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish, and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein
Mother Goose Nursery Rhymes
Grandmother’s Nursery Rhymes by Nelly Palacio Jaramillo
Behind the fun and silliness of "Rocket-Doodle-Do" lie important elements of early reading. Children enjoy the upbeat tune and the robot-rooster musical duo, but the song's lyrics also feature the kind of repetitive rhyming and wordplay that tend to correlate strongly to early success in reading.
As the brain is organizing itself to learn language, repeated rhymes and wordplay help children focus on small elements in the language stream they hear. In particular, playing with the rhyme and rhythm in songs helps children develop phonological awareness—the ability to hear and pay attention to the sounds and rhythms of speech. Being able to hear and identify rhymes—to know that "rock" rhymes with "clock"—is a sign that a child is aware that these words share the same ending sounds. Eventually, this ability to distinguish among the sounds in words (phonemes) will help a child make the association between written letters and the sounds they represent.
In addition, "Rocket-Doodle-Doo" playfully combines a set of target words. The song was written for an episode of Between the Lions about a little rock that rolls out of a dictionary and tries to get back in again. It finds its place on a page with the words “robot," “rocket," “roof," and “rooster." The song "Rocket-Doodle-Doo" was created to combine all the words on the page. Experts recommend just this type of instructional practice when working with new vocabulary: revisit the target words often and use them in different contexts.
Some children may note that many of the words in the song begin with the same /r/ sound. This ability to focus on the beginning sounds in words and recognize those that match is another important practice in building phonological awareness. Effective teachers will point out these matches (known as alliteration) by stretching out the beginning sounds as they say the words: rrrrrrocket, rrrrroof, rrrrrooster, etc.
The song lyrics are shown as print on screen, with a bouncing ball tracking the words as they are sung. This demonstrates an important concept of print: that we read from left to right on a page. The rhythm of the song and the lively ball show an example of reading fluency, which refers to the ability to recognize words easily and read with the right rhythm and intonation. When children read fluently, it sounds natural, and it is a sign that they recognize and understand what they are reading.
Common Core State Standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.R.K (Kindergarten ): Reading
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K (Kindergarten ): Foundational Skills
(Kindergarten ): Print Concepts
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.R.K.1 (Kindergarten ): Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.R.K.1 (Kindergarten ): Demonstrate understanding of the organization and basic features of print.
- (Kindergarten ): Print Concepts
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RF.K (Kindergarten ): Foundational Skills