Singing to Teach Reading: Decoding, Fluency & Expression

Reading & Singing in Grade 5

If you were a fly on my classroom wall this week you would have heard my students singing the Go’s-Go’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” … and yes, it was for academic purposes 😉

For the past few weeks I have been searching for fun ways to practice oral reading (decoding as well as reading/modeling fluency, proper phrasing and expression). Well, the other day I was googling Fun Boy Three’s “Our Lips Are Sealed” and noticed that one of the videos on YouTube was “lyrics only”. As I read (& sung!) along it dawned on me: Why not have the kids practise reading with fluency, appropriate phrasing, etc. by showing them the video (see below) on the SmartBoard and having read/sing along?

The song’s message is a good one too. It provided a great springboard for a Class Meeting discussion about rumours, gossip and strategies (e.g. the power of silence & confidence).

Well, the students loved the lesson and have asked to do more of the same. So now I am on the hunt for fun songs … with appropriate lyrics!

Anyway, just thought I’d share!



Our Lips Are Sealed
1. Go-Go’s video:
2. Fun Boy Three performance (my fav!)
3. For a contemporary spin: Hilary and Haylie Duff’s cover
4. Lyrics:

Another current favourite has turned out to be songs by “Owl City”:|


5 responses to “Singing to Teach Reading: Decoding, Fluency & Expression

  1. I attended a PD about this a couple of years ago. The presenter, Tim Rasinski, suggested using the U.S. military songs as well as popular patriotic songs like America the Beautiful. Maybe you can do the same with Canadian songs. Also traditional songs like Happy Birthday, Mary Had a Little Lamb, etc.

    • Right! All good ideas.
      As my students are in Grade 5 I am really trying to keep “the cool factor” in mind (whatever that means to them hahahahaha) … but it’s proving hard to find popular “radio songs” that are appropriate!

  2. I’m interested in trying this. Do you have a list of songs that you have used?

  3. Back in the olden days, I used to use I’m Walking on Sunshine.

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