Articles for October 2015

Sing Me a Book – Halloween

By this time in the month of October, the kids are getting excited about Halloween and that’s really all they want to talk about. Of course there are lots of options to address goals and objectives within this great theme!

There are a LOT of Halloween books that are written to go to a specific song or can be easily adapted to use in music therapy sessions. Here are THREE of my favorites

rattlebone rockRattlebone Rock – written by Sylvia Andrews – illustrated by Jennifer Plecas.

This is a silly book about a town having a party in the graveyard on Halloween. It is very rhythmic and there are spooky sounds on every page. I start by having the kids keep the beat by patting their knees and then have them echo the spooky sounds. This book is great for older kids as well and we have used instruments to make the spooky sounds.


Shake Dem Halloween Bones – written by W. Nicola-Lisa – illustrated by Mike Reed   halloween bones

This book is so much fun that the kids request this book long after Halloween is over. This Halloween party is attended by some of the most famous fairy tale folks they “Shake dem bones at the hip hop Halloween ball” it is very rhythmic and has a repetitive chorus. I use a 50’s hip hop style, and the melody is a permutation of “Rock Around the Clock” but it could easily be modified to whatever feels comfortable to you.  Click here to order my original audio soundtrack (only $.99) for use with this book.

monster mamaMy Monster Mama Loves Me So – by Laura Leuck – illustrated by Mark Buehner

Believe me when I tell you that of ALL of the books in my repertoire, this is the ALL TIME FAVORITE of the kids, and most of the teachers too! This book can be sung to the tune of “A Sailor Went to Sea, Sea, Sea” and I have added a repetitive chorus after almost every page turn. We use sign language during the chorus. Click on these links for the ASL signs “Monster“, “Mama“, “Loves Me So“, “Let me Tell You“, “How I Know

then click here to order my original audio soundtrack for only $.99

I truly enjoy sharing my ideas with you and want to hear from you. Do you like singing books in your sessions? Is this technique sparking creativity? Please let me know in the comments below.

Come back in November for an extra-special Thanksgiving Song and book.



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Sing Me a Book – Fall Farm Animals

I have worked in Special education pre-schools for 20 years now and most of the teachers I have worked with have a farm animal theme in the fall. There are a LOT of books that go with this theme so here are two of my tried and true favorites.

Cows in the Kitchen

cows in the kitchenCows in the Kitchen by June Crebbin and illustrated by Katharine McEwen is a silly rhyming book that is sung to the tune of “Skip to My Lou”. The farm animals get into the farmhouse, while Tom Farmer is napping in the haystack. When the dog wakes him up he shoos all of the animals out and then goes back to sleep. This is a great way to practice animal sounds and “sh” sounds. Shooing motions can also be added.  I use this a lot for my individual sessions and it is a favorite of the kids.

In earlier posts I give instructions for scanning pictures for sequencing goals. This book works well for that, have the children put the pictures on the felt board at the correct time and then take them off as they are shooed out of the farmhouse, and added on again when they go back inside.

barn danceBarn Dance

Barn Dance by Bill Martin Jr., and illustration by John Archambault is more of a chant than a song and the kids are instructed to keep the beat with the soundtrack.

It is a fun story about a “skinny kid” who stays up all night on the full moon and goes down to the barn and dances with the animals. I usually substitute the words “skinny kid” for a name of a kid in my group, usually one who has had a hard time paying attention or one who has had an excellent day so far. Then at the end of the story I ask “wh” questions while referring to the correct pages of the book.

“What is the name of the kid in the book?”

“What should he be doing?”

“Where did he go?”

“Who is this (scarecrow)?”

“What instrument is he playing?” and many more.

I learned about this book during my undergrad from a Music Education grad student who mentored me for a semester. She made the original soundtrack back in 1990, but due to technology issues, I had to remake the soundtrack. Click this link for your FREE download  accompaniment for this book. Make sure you practice with the music before you do it in a group and leave space for the fiddle tuning segment.. How do you like the “Sing Me a Book” series? Are these posts helping you with your music therapy practice? Please let me know in the comments below and stay tuned for some Halloween fun in my next post.

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Sing Me a Book – “Old Black Fly”

Welcome back to “Sing Me a Book”

The book I am featuring today has been my favorite alphabet book since I first learned it during my undergraduate work almost 25 years ago. This is my “go-to” book when teachers are doing a thematic unit on bugs, but it’s so fun that I don’t wait to introduce it and the kids request it often.

old black flyOld Black Fly was written by Jim Aylesworth to be sung to the tune of “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho”. It is a very funny story about a fly buzzin’ around and landing on everything in the whole house, including the “stack of clean underwear”. Illustrations by Stephen Gammel add another dimension to the humor.

The first instruction that I give to the kids is to work on the bi-lateral movement waving side-to-side as we sing the chorus “shoo fly, shoo fly, shoo”.  Each verse has a word or words that repeat three times such as “Birthday cake, Birthday cake, Birthday cake” and kids are encouraged to sing along.

In order to promote active listening skills, I take time at the end of the book to ask the kids “what happened to the fly?” Can you figure out the secret? Post in the comments below.

In my last post (read that here) I talked about using a scanner to print pictures for sequencing and fine motor goal areas. That technique can be used for this book as well, although I prefer to use it with a simple soundtrack and focus on the motor and language goals.  I sing it acapella with my individual clients so that I can slow down the pace to focus on specific goal areas.

Don’t know this melody? Think this book is too hard? Click HERE to download the soundtrack that I use with my groups and find out how simple it is to add an extra element of fun.

Come back and visit next time and I will tell you about the fantastic farm animal books that I am using.


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