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Friday, August 26, 2005

The Effect of Music on Learning

I borrowed the LeapFrog Letter Factory video from the library since it teaches letters and phonics. I have been teaching Matthew phonics so I figured watching this video might be a good idea in reinforcing what he already knows. I was pleasantly surprised by this video for the following reasons:
  1. It's actually entertaining. It's something I wouldn't mind watching.
  2. It has a very catchy tune in remembering each letter and its sound.
  3. It's very well done. I actually like the story line and how it's played out.
I especially like it when Matthew giggles and laughs when he watches it. I have to say that I'm usually not a big fan of educational videos/programs, especially Sesame Street. For those curious souls out there, you should definitely read Jane Healy's Endangered Minds: Why Our Children Don't Think and What We Can Do About It. Very enlightening. But I digress. . .

What I really want to say is that music has a tremendous impact on the mind. The little catchy tune in the video cemented the letter sounds in mine and my kid's mind quite well. I find myself singing the tune during the day and my son sometimes jumping in and telling me what each letter sounds like. It's really a great way of learning.

In learning the vowels, I sing a modified version of the Old MacDonald song (“Old MacDonald had a farm, A-E-I-O-U...”) and Matthew takes great delight in it. This painless lesson helps him know his vowels really well.

He often asks me to play the "This Old Man" song on the piano and of course I oblige most of the time. In playing and singing this song, he learns his numbers. It's simply amazing. . . . .

Lastly, I just want to reiterate that I'm not a big fan of letting my kids watch videos to learn things because I believe a real person such as myself is the best teacher. Videos are helpful as a secondary or supplementary tool. If you choose to watch an educational video, make sure you watch it together with your child so as to guide him along. Make sure there's a conversation between the two of you. Watching a video/program is a one way process which is passive learning. Having a conversation with your child about the video is a two way process which is active learning.