4 Ways to Teach Children a New Language with Songs

Posted: Wed, Aug 1, 2018 8:52 PM

All children love music and singing. There is something magical about words being set to a melody that encourages children to join in. Since most children’s songs consist of catchy beats and lyrics, it is a perfect combination of music and fun.

An added benefit to children’s songs is that they are often easy to learn. The short, repetitive sentences are easy to remember. Children don’t even realise how much their language skills are improving while joining in the singing fun.

Singing songs is an excellent way to promote language learning at home. Even if most of the words are unfamiliar at first, mimicking the words in a song can help children practice producing sounds in the new language. Eventually the sounds give way to actual understanding as the song is practiced over and over again. 

At Lingotot we go one step further; all of our songs contain movement or actions which aid understanding and participation.

Here are a few tips to think about when introducing your children to songs in a foreign language:  

1. Repetition

Pick songs that repeat words and sentences over and over again. This will help them become confident very quickly. Encourage children to try and join in even if only now and then – they may have picked up a word here or there and will want to call it out when the song reaches that point.

2. Movement

Children delight in songs that include movement. Being able to move our bodies while practicing words and sentences in another language can have a tremendous impact. Our LingoTunes CDs are full of action songs and we make sure all of our songs in class include movement or actions. An added benefit is that children can demonstrate understanding non-verbally which is excellent for  very young children who have not started to talk, shy learners or some children with special educational needs.

3. Rhythm

It is important to pick out songs that have a good rhythm. It is easier for children to learn the words when the rhythm of the song is consistent and follows a regular pattern. The words of the song should fit well with the beat which is why you may find some Lingotot songs change in slightly in their translation into another language. For example “If you’re happy and you know it” becomes “If you like speaking French” in our classes. Not only is it appropriate, but it better fits the rhythm.

4. Lyrics

The words of the song are key when it comes to teaching children another language. If there are too many new, difficult words, then the experience can backfire. Singing songs together should be fun and inspiring, not frustrating. At Lingotot we try to help our children expand their language skills and we often pick songs that have full sentences which they may use in their everyday lives. For example "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" is always a great choice at bedtime.

At Lingotot we have our own range of Songbooks & CDs, LingoTunes, Best Product Supporting Children’s Activities at Home 2018 Finalist. Listen to snippets on YouTube or buy now from your class leader or Little Linguist.