April 20, 2:00-3:00 pm remotely via ZOOM: Music Research Forum Talk: "What’s in a Song?: Investigating the Effects of Teaching Vocabulary with Sung and Rhythmically Spoken Songs"

jessicaJessica Lawson-Adams

Vanderbilt University Department of Teaching and Learning

Vocabulary knowledge in the primary grades predicts later reading comprehension and academic success. For young children, low initial knowledge about academically-valued words at school entry can serve as a barrier to accessing text and sustaining reading achievement in school. Many studies focus on direct vocabulary instruction and shared book reading as the primary context for fostering preschool children’s word learning, but few explore songs as a context for building minoritized preschool children’s knowledge about words. Using a within-subject design, we investigated children’s word learning from songs. Words were taught with picture cards-only, a song that was sung with a melody, and a song that was rhythmically-spoken with no melody. Vocabulary knowledge was measured using a receptive task and a productive definitional task that assessed children’s depth of word knowledge. We found that on the receptive measure, children’s word learning did not vary across picture card-only instruction and instruction with sung and rhythmically spoken songs. However, both types of songs led to significantly greater gains in children’s depth of word knowledge compared to words taught with picture cards-only. The findings of this study contribute an understanding of whether songs, and specific features of songs, effect preschool children’s word learning.

You may access this talk via Zoom by clicking here.