Sing to Read Revolution

Ann Kay
by Ann Kay | Mar 07, 2013
| 1 Comment

Summary:

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray..."

Could you read these words without starting to sing the familiar song? When we see a song we know, the lyrics magically become “sight words” and we can read them ever after. That’s what singing does for everyone and every word we sing. Yet thousands of children cannot read at grade level so they lose hope and give up. Nationally, Minnesota has the worst 4-year graduation rate for Latino and Native American students and the second worst for African-Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders.

St. Paul’s future depends on getting all our children reading so they can become productive citizens. What would happen if we discovered a tool that could help every child learn to read well? We have. It’s singing. A fun, easy, two-part approach helps students unlock the door to reading by 1) playing singing games to practice reading skills, and 2) singing with a software program that won the Wall Street Journal Innovative Software Award.

Studies show singing works. Kindergartens at a Minneapolis school made the most growth and scored #1 out of 50 schools in knowing letter sounds. A kindergarten learned more sight words than the teacher’s previous class. A 4th grade class outscored another in reading fluency. A 12-year-old using a software program at home to improve singing suddenly began to read fluently and no longer needed special education. 8th graders reading at a 4th grade level improved more than 1 year in 9 weeks of singing. After the singing, they continued to improve, ending the year at a 6th grade reading level while the 8th graders in the non-singing group remained at 4th. Florida Dept. of Ed. awarded $500,000 for 6 years of research with 1400 3rd-11th graders. Results: 1 year of reading achievement in 9 weeks.

Let’s make St. Paul great by helping every child learn to read well!

"You are my sunshine…
Please don’t take my sunshine away."

About You

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About You

First Name

Ann

Last Name

Kay

City

County

Country

United States

Website (if you have one)

Names of others who helped contribute to my idea

How did you hear about the Forever Saint Paul Challenge?

About Your Organization (if applicable)

Organization Name (if applicable)

Center for Lifelong Music Making

Organization Phone

Organization Address

City

Organization Country

United States

Your idea

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Title of your idea

Sing to Read Revolution

Give us the highlights of your idea for making Saint Paul great (2,000 characters maximum or approx. 250 words)

"You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy when skies are gray..."
Could you read these words without starting to sing the familiar song? When we see a song we know, the lyrics magically become “sight words” and we can read them ever after. That’s what singing does for everyone and every word we sing. Yet thousands of children cannot read at grade level so they lose hope and give up. Nationally, Minnesota has the worst 4-year graduation rate for Latino and Native American students and the second worst for African-Americans and Asian/Pacific Islanders.
St. Paul’s future depends on getting all our children reading so they can become productive citizens. What would happen if we discovered a tool that could help every child learn to read well? We have. It’s singing. A fun, easy, two-part approach helps students unlock the door to reading by 1) playing singing games to practice reading skills, and 2) singing with a software program that won the Wall Street Journal Innovative Software Award.
Studies show singing works. Kindergartens at a Minneapolis school made the most growth and scored #1 out of 50 schools in knowing letter sounds. A kindergarten learned more sight words than the teacher’s previous class. A 4th grade class outscored another in reading fluency. A 12-year-old using a software program at home to improve singing suddenly began to read fluently and no longer needed special education. 8th graders reading at a 4th grade level improved more than 1 year in 9 weeks of singing. After the singing, they continued to improve, ending the year at a 6th grade reading level while the 8th graders in the non-singing group remained at 4th. Florida Dept. of Ed. awarded $500,000 for 6 years of research with 1400 3rd-11th graders. Results: 1 year of reading achievement in 9 weeks.
Let’s make St. Paul great by helping every child learn to read well!
"You are my sunshine…
Please don’t take my sunshine away."

Website address (if applicable)

Innovation

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What makes your idea different or unexpected? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

This idea is different because there is already substantial research that it works, and it is unexpected because most people are not aware of the research. Studies by neurobiologist Dr. Aniruddh Patel have revealed that instead of operating in separate parts of the brain, music and language actually share deep and critical connections. Neuroscientist Dr. Nina Kraus has found that music making increases auditory memory and attention, resulting in a brain that’s better able to process and read language.

Impact

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This Entry is about (Issues)

How will your idea make a difference in Saint Paul? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

This idea will result in better graduation rates, a higher quality work force, reduced crime and incarceration, and more productive citizens.

Sustainability

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Why do you think people will recognize or remember your idea after it comes to life? How might it inspire others to do something similar in their community? (4000 characters maximum or approx. 500 words)

People will remember this idea because it is revolutionary, it is fun, and it gets fast results. Singing transforms classrooms into happy, cooperative communities. Some might say, “Why didn’t we think of this sooner?” This proposal has huge sustainability potential because a sizable portion of the award would be used to train the teachers, and the schools would own the hardware and software. This capacity building means that St. Paul could develop a large cadre of teachers who are capable of continuing after the award has ended, and they can train new teachers so that future generations can benefit. Raising reading achievement for everyone and closing the achievement gap will inspire other schools to use singing to obtain similar results.