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Music and Literacy

Risa Cohen

Risa Cohen

Risa Cohen calls herself, “a Literacy teacher disguised as a Music and Movement teacher.”

As Children’s House students arrive in the morning they sing and dance with Risa. Then, during work time, the students do shared reading, independent reading, and literacy activities, using the songs they sang as their texts.


Literacy is communication. We read and write to communicate something. When reading text, we read to decipher not sounds and words, but meaning. As I write this blog, I am not concerned with how you pronounce the words I write, but I hope that you understand the message I am trying to convey. Spoken language is part of communication and also Literacy instruction. I feel that the integration of Music and Movement with Literacy instruction is a natural combination, since I see Music and Movement as other forms of communication.

A common starting point of communication in our culture is the handshake. Our first Literacy lessons involved shaking hands, looking at another person’s eyes, and saying “Good morning, (that person’s name).” We use our right hands to shake. Learning left from right is foundational to the left-to-right directionality we use when reading and writing. And learning each other’s names is not only a good community-building activity, but it will also help with name recognition and future literacy lessons. You may want to reinforce these lessons at home. When introducing your children to new people, encourage them to shake hands.

Keep singing,

Hello Children’s House Families:

One morning each week I spend time with your child’s Children’s House classroom leading a Music and Movement lesson. During the lesson we sing, dance, and have a lot of fun. Many students try to arrive extra early on “Risa Day” because they don’t want to miss any songs. After moving and grooving, I lead literacy lessons in small groups during work time. Each week we use one of the songs we sang as our text.

I always welcome family volunteers, and there are many ways you might be able to help. Some jobs can be done at home like filling the folders with papers, and preparing materials by hole punching, cutting, and taping. If you would be able to help with the folders and materials, or if you have a musical talent you would like to share in class, please email me. More importantly, I encourage you to observe your children on days when they have Music and Literacy.

I hope to see many of you at our sing-a-long Friday, Sept. 4, at 10:45 a.m.

Keep Singing,

My schedule of Music and Movement lessons this year is:
Sassafras – 8:15-9 a.m.

Black Cherry – 8:15-9 a.m.

Sapphire – 8:35-9:05 a.m.
Emerald – 9:05-9:35 a.m.

Poplar –  8:15-9 a.m.
Sycamore – 9:05-9:35 a.m.

Maple – 8:15-9 a.m.