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Literacy Songs for Little Ones

Posted by: Jo-Anne Wilson-Keenan

Literacy Songs for Little Ones is a collection of fun and engaging songs for children from birth to age 8. The songs are unique because they contain important messages about language and literacy development for parents and other caregivers.

I write curriculum and study literacy theories and practices. My husband, John, writes songs. Over the past few years, we have teamed up and woven important literacy concepts into his songs. We have a great time singing and working on the songs together and were delighted when our CD received a Creative Child Magazine CD of the Year Award! Here are examples of the songs:

  • The Baby Bop exposes very young children to the sounds and rhythms of language. The parent or caregiver gently moves the child on a knee while the song is played.
  • To, With, and By refers to a process for helping children learn to read. Parents and others read to children, read with children, and provide opportunities for children to read by themselves. There practices enable children to gradually take responsibility for reading. The song was inspired by Reading To, With, and By Children by Margaret E. Mooney, Richard C. Owen Publishers, Katonah, New York, 1990.
  • Let's Go On a Library Adventure depicts the library as an exciting gateway to learning about our world.
  • It's Time to Rhyme introduces the concept of rhyming. Recognition of rhyme is one way that children demonstrate awareness of the sounds in words. Rhyme helps children understand that words sharing common sounds often share common letter sequences. Rhyme also helps children break words into smaller bits and distinguish parts of words. All of these skills are important for reading and spelling. Rhymes are also a fun way to play with words!

In addition to these concepts, the songs provide children with the opportunity to hear a variety of musical styles, including folk, gospel, blues, R & B, rock, and country.

Two of the songs, Rover the Reading Dog and Readin' to Rosie, are about dogs that are trained to listen to children read. I was skeptical about the value of having children read to dogs when I first heard this idea, but for readers who need to build their confidence, a patient non-judgmental canine can be the perfect listener! Therapy Dogs International or Reading Education Assistance Dogs (R.E.A.D) are two agencies that train reading dogs and their handlers.

Literacy Songs for Little Ones is available as both a download and a CD. Many young families we know play the songs in the car on long trips, or when they are driving around town. Like favorite stories, children ask to hear the songs over, and over, and over again!

The songs are arranged so libraries, early childhood centers, schools, and other groups can use them during their literacy activities. The collection opens with The Hello Song and closes with The Good-bye Song. Thirteen additional sing-along tracks with the background music alone are also included.

The unique songs on our CD can be used along with other literacy resources such as poems, books, and other songs. A PDF of the music, lyrics, and chords for each song comes with the CD or download at no additional cost.

Literacy Songs for Little Ones is available at