'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Thursday 1 December 2022

Guest Post: Cassie Veselovsky on Making Reading More Musical

For over 20 years I have been serving as a youth librarian providing storytimes and programs for the children and families in my community. I am loud, goofy and I make mistakes, but I hold dear an unwavering commitment to support the kids and their grown-ups.

I strive to help grown-ups recognize how easy it can be to help their children learn by utilizing the five early literacy practices of reading, writing, talking, playing, and singing.

I am passionate about early literacy and encouraging and supporting grown-ups in their role as a child’s first teacher. Throughout my years I have created numerous songs and rhymes when I couldn’t find something to fit a storytime theme or program plan. Sure, many times my songs were met with chuckles, but kids and grown-ups sang and had fun together!

Singing is one of the five early literacy practices that many people struggle with and in my humble opinion, it is the most fun! Singing can make everyday activities exciting; it can make daily chores more fun!  To top it off, because of the magic that is music, creating a song about something you need to remember, can help you remember it!  (Try teaching your kids their address using a song!).  And when it comes to early literacy development, songs help children hear the individual syllables of words and develop their phonological awareness.

We all are not blessed with golden vocal cords, and that is ok! Years ago, when I had my daughter, all my education and experience flew out the window. I couldn't remember one single lullaby.  I felt lost.   I'm dating myself here, but the songs I turned to were TV show theme songs from my childhood:  Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, Gilligan's Island.  I used the themes and made up my own songs at 2am trying to soothe my dear one and get her back to sleep. 

Familiarity is comforting.  It didn't matter that I wasn't singing a proper children's lullaby or that my voice was off key; I was singing and engaging with my child. She relaxed with the sound of my voice, and I grew confidence as a new mother.  

There are many picture books written to the tune of old, familiar songs, but you can make up your own songs as well. Take any five-letter word and create a song to the tune of Bingo. How about a new counting song about over in the park instead of Over in the Meadow. Don’t sing about Five Green and Speckled Frogs; sing about Five Blue and Furry Monsters! The options are endless. Yes, they are silly and goofy, but if they bring about positive engagement with you and your child and you are spending quality time together, then the songs are golden.

Cassie Veselovsky has worked in or for libraries for 40 years (which obviously means she’s part time lord). Her passion for early literacy has led her to be an active member of many youth services committees as well as present at conferences, in classrooms and via the internet.

Her commitment also drove Cassie to write. She is the author of the Bingo Books series as well as Over in the Outback, Old MacDonald had a Cat and Five Tasty Tacos sharing her love of reading and singing (and goofy songs) with the under-5 crowd and their grown-ups.

Discover more at: lonecow.blogspot.com or connect with Cassie via her socials: Instagram | TikTok | Pinterest