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Educating, developing and influencing young minds are very rewarding; yet it can be
extremely challenging as well. Teaching methods that may be conducive to one child may prove
to be less effective for another child. Therefore educators, librarians, teachers, child care
providers and anyone who work with children are constantly searching for innovative ways to
introduce and promote literacy with our children. I had the opportunity to observe a seminar
entitled, Integrating Music and Literacy, hosted by Elizabeth Peterson, an arts integration
specialist and a fourth grade teacher in Amesbury, MA. The purpose of the seminar/training
was to share and provide teachers with tools and resources that will assist them to integrating
music and literacy. According to the host providing teachers and educators with such knowledge
would enable them to effectively teach and encourage struggling and beginner readers to
develop necessary skills that will make reading more enjoyable (through music) that will result in
stronger reading skills for the students. Ms. Peterson discusses the parallel connections
between music and literacy and contends that an understanding of music creates an
environment that will enable the children to combine the music skills to help with learning and
speech development.
Ms. Peterson begins the seminar by explaining that there is a natural connection
between music and literacy. She refers to the connection as similar or parallel processes. Ms.
Peterson argues that when teachers are able to take those processes and parallel them into
their classrooms, this enables the educators to demonstrate the similarities to their students.
The students will then begin to make the connection and convert into improved and/or stronger
readers. During the seminar Ms. Peterson introduces three Parallel Processes (Reading
Strategies) designed to assist teachers to help their students to make that connection that
results in stronger reading skills:

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1. LISTEN A-LOUDS (LIKE READ A-LOUDS): Listening to music is the same as reading
stories. Teachers can use listen a-louds to music to model good listening skills that
transfers to active listening skills in literacy as it relates to a book. The Listen a-louds
assist in training and teaching children what to know and listen to before during and after
a the experience of listening to a particular piece of music to get yourself/students
familiar with the music; same goes for a book. The students then transfer these learned
skills through listen a-loud and apply them to literacy. The more the students listen to
the music the more they enjoy. This same concepts can be applied to books as well, the
more they read, they more they began to understand and enjoy reading.
2. VISUALIZATION STRATEGIES: This is a method that allows teachers to train students to
practice sounding out sounds and developing visualization skills such as, visualizing
colors, themes, characters, movements, etc. Once students perfect the art of
visualization strategies through listening to music, they use these skills to improve their
reading skills.
3. UNDERSTANDING BME RULE: This teaches students that every good piece of music (as
well as writing) has a Beginning, Middle and Ending. Teachers learn to teach students
how to identify the BME rule in music and apply the same rules to literacy/reading.
Teachers must demonstrate to students how to listen for musical clues to help them
understand that the beginning of a piece of music. The introduction must grasp your
attention; get you sucked in so that you want to continue to listen to the middle, the
middle develops the scene and encourages you to listen for the end. Ms. Peterson
suggested that a good piece of music to start with would be, You Aint Nothin but a
Hound Dog, by Elvis Presley. This is a lively piece of music that begins with an upbeat,
getting the audience attention. There are a lot of concepts for the students to visualize
that they are familiar with. The piece is short and very entertaining through the end.

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When writing and reading, students will learn to apply the BME rule if they are able to
understand the concept through listening to music.
Ms. Peterson emphasis to her audience that when music is effectively used to introduce
students to reading strategies the students will eventually learn to apply the strategies to their
reading and will ultimately become stronger readers. Ms. Peterson stresses that when sharing
music pieces with children, it orders for it to be an enjoyable experience for the student, building
stamina is essential. Start with a short piece of music, perhaps 2 to 3 minutes and allow the
students to build on their listening skills: The same as with reading skills, children must be
encouraged and allowed to build and develop their reading and writing skills before moving to
larger novels.
In order to evaluate the seminar the host implemented both qualitative and quantitative
methods. She employed peer coaching, along with having the seminar videotaped and she
made available a live chat and encouraged participants to actively participate throughout the
training. The partakers were also encouraged to log onto the hosts website and or go to social
network pages to leave any type of suggestion and or questions. Ms. Peterson also encouraged
the audience to visit her sight and to consider attending future seminars by offering a discount to
anyone who purchased her material.
The presenter, Elizabeth Peterson, is a long-time fourth grade teacher and has taught
music for years. Currently a fourth grade teacher, she holds a M.Ed. in Art Education, Arts and
Learning and is an author of Inspired by Listening. Ms. Peterson also teaches workshops and
courses on the integration of arts into the classrooms. Therefore she is knowledgeable of the
subject matter, integrating literacy and music. The seminar was very interesting and informative,
however I was expecting for the host to provide more resources and maybe elaborate on
integrating music and literacy as it relates to specific ages and grade level (Peterson n.d.)

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Peterson, Elizabeth. Integrating Music and Literacy. July 17, 2012. (accessed April 2015).