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Combining Music with Reading and Math to Promote Early Reading and Math Skills in Toddlers

Updated on July 7, 2014

Showing off at Preschool

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Music, Reading, and Math

While working as a Music Therapist at a special needs school, I had access to a lot of educational materials. I was especially interested in materials that combined music with educational goals. The students I worked with were on the severe/profound scale of their disability and my job was to use musical activities to help the children achieve educational/life goals.

I came across a gem with a series called Rock N Learn. They have a large library of DVD's that mix educational goals with music in a fun approach. I used a few of these DVD's with great success.

Given my studies in music education as an undergraduate and music therapy at masters level, I had a theory that babies could benefit if shown these videos. I believe that baby and toddler minds are capable of so much more than we give them credit for and since music engages both sides of the brain the babies are receiving full brain stimulation.

When I had my own babies I thought I'd test this theory. I rotated between the DVD's listed at the end of this article every morning from the day I brought them home from the hospital (25-35 minutes a day exposure). Even as new babies they were spellbound, eyes never leaving the TV screen.

My oldest son was a late talker so it was a long wait to see the results. Once he finally started talking I found that not only did he already know the alphabet (upper and lowercase), but he was able to read sentences! He could identify numbers 1-20 and was able to add and subtract. My youngest son is two years old and he knows his alphabet (upper and lowercase) and can sound out and read simple books (even new books he's never seen before). He knows his numbers to 100+ (1-20 from Colors Shapes and Counting DVD and beyond 20 from his older brother).

I have heard reading experts say that children who read before a certain age aren't really reading, they are spitting back memorized words and can't understand what they just read. I can attest that this is not the case with my boys and my older sons nursery school teacher (formerly a 3rd grade teacher) can confirm it. When given a book he's never seen he can read it and answer questions about what he just read.

The Rock N Learn DVD's are so well done I now give them as baby shower gifts and give the new mothers the challenge of showing their baby the DVD's from birth up. To my knowledge only one mother accepted the challenge and her daughter (an early talker) could identify the alphabet (upper and lowercase) and the numbers 1-20 by her first birthday.

I now give you the same challenge. Don't fret if your child is a toddler and you missed this during the baby time, start anyway! Reading and math skills are essential life skills, the earlier they learn them the more secure they will be in the world around them.

Would you play Rock N Learn DVD's for a child?

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© 2013 HeatherH104

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    • DreamerMeg profile image

      DreamerMeg 3 years ago from Northern Ireland

      I will have to have a think about those. They look interesting! Will come back and look into them

    • HeatherH104 profile image
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      HeatherH104 3 years ago from USA

      I think they show you clips of their videos on YouTube so you can get an idea of what they are like before you buy. They are excellent the way they combine music, stimulating visuals, and learning. It presents everything in a way that small children grasp. Thanks for reading and commenting. Hope the videos work if you decide to try them. :)

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