EuroCALL 2002, Aug. 14-17

June Main Page
Online Newsletter at Abu Dhabi Women's College
Featured ESL Professional
Report from JALTCALL2002
Building a CALL lab
Who has time for tech projects?
Training Thai teachers with CANHELP
An Index of ESL MiniConference Stories
Notes and contacts
Search the site

Submit your email,
join ESL MiniConference

ESL MiniConference Online!

The Power of Songs to Help English Learners
A Few Basic Suggestions From Christy Newman

There has been persistent interest on the TESL-L listserv recently in the use of songs for ESL/EFL learning. Christy Newman, whose "Adventures in Reading" series and "Taking Off" are being published by McGraw-Hill, agreed to reprint her practical comments here for ESL MiniConference Online readers. (Also, read three other articles about songs in ESL, See also Tapping Student Interest, "There Was An Old Lady" and The Connection Between Song and Poetry!)

I think songs are great as listening exercises, and they seem to help fluency as well, much like choral reading does.

Providing sentence starters, a cloze, or just asking students to write down words or phrases they understand focuses their attention on the language, so they're less concerned with how much they like the music. Pointing out rhyme schemes, context clues, etc., also helps them make those leaps of language and gives them a sense of accomplishment.

After a few plays, at least a handful are singing along with the chorus, and by the time they've figured out all the words, everyone is singing along.

Songs that have worked best for me are:

American Pie - (Don McLean)
You've Got a Friend - (Carole King or James Taylor)
Sweet Baby James (J Taylor)
I Won't Back Down - (Tom Petty)

By Christy Newman
ESL Teacher & Author

2002 ESL MiniConference Online