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Texas ISD School Guide
Texas ISD School Guide

Lessons & Classroom Games for Teachers

How to Teach English to Children Through Songs
By:Maggie McCormick

When teaching English as a second language (ESL) to children, songs can be an effective way to get your point across. Many children enjoy music, so including it in your lesson plan helps you to step away from simply drilling vocabulary words with flashcards. You can stick with old standbys that are familiar in most languages or go with songs that are specifically created for teaching English. You can find a song to teach most any concept.

Start the lesson with a welcome song. At the beginning of your lesson, students may be milling about or playing while waiting for all students to arrive. Use a song to signify the start of the lesson. A good welcome song might include concepts such as greetings.

Introduce the written language with the ABC song. The alphabet song is a popular song in ESL classes. While students sing the song, point to each letter on a poster on the wall. This allows them to connect the idea that each spoken letter has a written letter that goes with it.

Teach the numbers through song. You can find a number of songs that use numbers. For example, "10 Little Pumpkins" can help students learn the numbers counting up, while "10 in the Bed" will teach the numbers counting down.

Use English songs created for ESL students. Some songs focus on teaching a particular grammar point or a part of speech. Connecting these concepts with music is a mnemonic device that can help students remember.

Incorporate movements with the songs. Creating dances that go along with the songs that you use in your classes will help your students remember the songs and their lessons. Depending on the song, it can also be a way to teach the vocabulary used in the song. For example, the "Hokey Pokey" song teaches body parts and the concept of "left" and "right."

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