Read-Along Songs

The Read-Along Songs Collection consists of 6 books and a free CD:
  • A, You’re Adorable, retold and illustrated by Martha Alexander
  • Miss Mary Mack, retold by Mary Ann Hoberman, illustrated by Nadine Bernard Westcott
  • Hush Little Baby, retold and illustrated by Sylvia Long
  • We All Go Traveling By, by Sheena Roberts, illustrated by Siobhan Bell
  • The Itsy Bitsy Spider, retold and illustrated by Iza Tripani
  • Over in the Meadow, retold and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
  • CD of all the books read aloud by Cal Walker and sung by John Simon
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A partnership project of:

Participating schools

  • ICSD Pre-K students and teachers, Kindergarten and 1st grade teachers
  • TCA Head Start
  • TST BOCES Even Start
  • Franziska Racker Centers
  • Trumansburg Elementary Kindergartners
  • South Seneca Elementary Kindergartners
Overview

The Read-Along Songs program uses rhyming and rhythm to connect children and families with the joy of words and books, inviting families to literacy through music. Children in low-income based pre-school programs receive a bright red book bag filled with six beautiful books and a CD of the books being both read aloud and sung. The same set of books and CD is also given to classroom teachers in pre-school, kindergarten and 1st grade so that children see and hear the set in both school and home.

Objectives for Children
  • Increase interest in and affection for books
  • Increase rhyming ability
  • Increase knowledge of alphabet
  • Increase vocabulary
  • Increase attention span
  • Increase background knowledge
  • Expose children to greater expressive communication and receptive language
Objectives for Families
  • Provide families with auditory modeling of songs and reading aloud
  • Increase parent/adult time engaged with their children around books
  • Increase positive verbal interactions with children–talking and singing–as family centered activities
  • Reading and singing will become part of everyday family routines
  • Introduce families to the fun and entertainment in books
Objectives for Schools and Programs
  • Support teachers and schools by providing this literacy enhancement at school and at home
  • Strengthen the bridge between home and school with a book and singing connection
Project Background

In 2007, a committee of early education professionals from TCA Head Start, TST BOCES Even Start, and ICSD Pre-K, along with local singer/songwriter John Simon and Village at Ithaca Executive Director Cal Walker, carefully chose six different children’s books that were also favorite playground tunes or remakes of old bedtime songs to be a part of the program.

A CD was produced by Hiltronex Studios with John Simon playing guitar and singing the books and Cal Walker reading the books in his rich, animated voice. As funding allows, John Simon and Cal Walker, affectionately known as “Simon and Calfunkle,” visit classrooms to sing and read to both children and parents, deepening the impact of the program.

Measures of Success

“When I arrived for our visit, the mom immediately told me how much her son loves the book “We All Go Traveling By.” They read the book together while I was there. Mom had her son help her “read” the book by making the sound effects.”
-Head Start home visitor

“These books have made a huge difference in the amount of time my parents are spending reading to their children. These books have become treasured keepsakes, and are being kept on the bookshelves, and proudly displayed.”
-Even Start home educator

“Because of the Read-Along Songs program my daughter can now follow along with the book and CD and even knows when to turn the page! Autism is not stopping her! She is growing through books and I am so proud!”
– Parent of a pre-schooler
Read about this program in an Ithaca Journal article, November 17, 2007