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Close Reading with A Song

I have been meaning to start incorporating songs into my reading instruction for a while, but haven’t found the time until this week. Songs offer so many possibilities – talking about theme, author’s purpose, point of view, similes and metaphors, and many other skills related to the common core standards. They are a great resource to engage students in something that most already enjoy. I used this Scholastic resource as inspiration in planning the lessons.

Today, I introduced close reading with songs using  “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson. We are beginning to learn about theme, and I thought this was a great song to help students think about the message behind the words. I am also working in some character education, as we have recently had some friendship drama and I feel like our class needs a boost of positive energy. We just practiced our listening comprehension today as we created and filled out a table for I Hear, I Think, and I Wonder. Tomorrow, we dig deeper as we read the lyrics and search for evidence to support our ideas around the theme.
My favorite part of the lesson today was how engaged the class was in listening to the lyrics. They were focused on the learning target and were busy jotting down notes to support their thinking. I enjoyed listening to them share their thoughts and see the lightbulbs go off when they made connections between the title and the theme. I look forward to our discussion tomorrow about the lyrics.

My hope is to do a new song each week. I told the class today that I am happy to pick songs for us, but that I would love to have them find songs they feel are worthy of a closer listen and reading. I hope this will encourage some more enthusiasm about reading at home!

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