Quite simply, children need music to fully develop, and these days children have fewer and fewer opportunities for singing in their lives. Using songs in story times is a wonderful way to involve even the youngest children in language, and to model that involvement to parents and caregivers. By encouraging adults to sing with their children every day, you are helping them build relationships and a love of language.

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Music Powers the Brain: Simply singing with a child connects neural pathways, and increases the ability to retain information. In other words, it builds memory. Music builds a strong sense of rhythm, which leads to a better ability to understand and produce language. Singing develops spatial reasoning, which allows children to recognize patterns and later helps in problem-solving. Songs are rich in vocabulary and by nature build phonological awareness.

Music Influences Us: Advertisers know this! Thatís why they spend millions of dollars on jingles. You can use music to influence children in positive ways. Using music, you can change a mood, stimulate creativity, and direct energy toward movement or stillness.

Music Connects Us: Because music is a language, it can bring together a diverse group of people, and by simply singing together, give them a shared experience. You donít need to know what the words mean to understand the intention of a song. Until recently in our human history, people and cultures were connected by the songs passed down from one generation to the next. This also built a feeling of community, from work songs to lullabies, nonsense, and story songs.

Music Transports Us: Music transports us in time and emotion. It can take us to far away lands, or back into our own childhoods. As we sing and do fingerplays, we are brought into the childís world, where everything is newly discovered.

Music Comforts Us: Repeating the same songs in story time give children security, and memories that can be called on to comfort for a lifetime. Starting your story time with a theme song, singing a lullaby, and using an ending song are just some of the ways you can provide this musical comfort. All human beings find comfort in the familiar.

When parents and caregivers sing with their babies and children, they are calmed and comforted as well.