Winter Songs for Language and Literacy

Winter brings many great seasonal songs that can be turned into new opportunities to practice singing and promote early learning, language, literacy, and brain development. Learn how to apply LSL strategies to seasonal songs.

Singing is an important early intervention activity you can do with your baby who is deaf or hard of hearing to grow their brain for listening, spoken language and literacy. Many experts believe singing lullabies and nursery rhymes leads to better speech and language skills, forming the foundation for reading readiness and eventual school success. Songs and rhymes help build your baby’s vocabulary and count toward the 40 million words that are important to creating a foundation for literacy. Singing also encourages the development of a voice rich in inflection, improved articulation of speech sounds and increased memory for words. 
In listening and spoken language (LSL) intervention, you’ll practice singing, rhyming and fingerplays (action rhymes) to help your child learn to listen and talk following a sequence of music skills or milestones. You don’t have to know very many songs or even have a good singing voice to be successful! Both of you will enjoy these interactions, and you’ll grow a healthy reader in the process. 

Singing can be incorporated into many fun, winter-related routines. Here are two activities highlighting early to late developing music skills to try!

#1: Make it Easier to Listen and Learn – Highlight the Rhythm or Pitch

Children discover and develop an understanding of the difference between speaking and singing by listening to you sing and talk. Early music skills can be observed when a young listener begins hearing differences in the pace of the song or the pitch. Many recorded songs are too fast for beginning listeners. Start by singing songs slowly and even one line at a time. Then, highlighting the important sounds or words. When the song becomes more familiar, pick up the pace or get creative by changing the pitch and associating it with a known sound, such as a tiny mouse. 

Here is one song to highlight rhythm and pitch:

Sing I’m A Little Snowman (tune of I’m A Little Teapot; lyrics by Carole Stephens)

I’m a little snowman short and fat
Here are my buttons, here is my hat.
When the sun comes out, I melt away
But I’ll come back another day.

#2: Make it Easier to Listen and Learn – Sing Songs with Repeatable Lines

Your child can learn  a lot of songs, fingerplays and rhymes that will lay the foundation for later reading and school success. Not only are these fun for children, they are packed with important learning tools to encourage sound awareness, build vocabulary and improve auditory memory. When you use songs with repeatable lines, your child can anticipate what comes next and benefit from  repeated practice.

Here is one song with repeatable lines to practice:

Sing Hot Chocolate Song (tune of Are you Sleeping?)

Nice hot chocolate
Nice hot chocolate

Yum, yum, yum
Yum, yum, yum

Marshmallows are floating
Whipped cream is melting

Yum, yum, yum
In my tum!

Remember, no matter what you sing to your baby, have fun! Children naturally love to sing, which creates great opportunities for LSL learning. Whether it’s a childhood classic or a new tune that you made up on the fly, you’re helping your baby’s brain grow. 

Check out these helpful handouts: