Listen and Write – literacy activities inspired by song

How often have you listened to a song lyrics and perhaps not picked up the correct words – a mondegreen?

Your pupils will listen intently to lyrics of songs they enjoy – songs are all around us. Wouldn’t it be good to capture that enthusiasm of pupils to listen carefullyto lyrics and harness that engagement to support listening and writing activities. Likewise pupils will listen to interviews with their favourite media stars or a story in the news and want to engage with what is being said.

The Listen and Write site helps make use of this in the classroom. You choose the song or an audio recording of speech and an interactive “fill-in-the-blanks” activity is presented. The pupil listens to the audio and the text is presented with gaps where the pupils types in the missing words they hear. There are hint prompts to help if a pupils wishes to use them, and of course the audio can be replayed as often as required by the pupil. You can choose how hard to make the task by increasing the number of words blanked out, or by opting to have initial letters.

Teachers can create a free account and add their own resources, and users can log in and keep track of their scores if they wish.

If teachers don’t wish to use this particular tool similar activities can also be created using offline tools such as using the Smart Board Interactive whiteboard Smart Notebook Lesson Activity Toolkit interactive tools on a notebook page with audio and fill-in-the-gaps activities (or a host of other activities). This way the ideas on the Listen and Write site can provide the inspiration and be adapted to the age and needs of the pupils at any given stage.

Lyrics Gaps provides a similar online tool using song lyrics with a variety of activities for learners to fill in the missing text – in a variety of languages. And there are different levels which can be chosen, and different ways of presenting the song. In addition users can double-click on any word in the song lyrics to bring up definitions. Teachers can add further resources here too.

 Looking for more ideas from many teachers to make use of popular songs to support teaching English language? Then have a look at Creative Ideas for using songs in teaching English in the classroom – this provides a host of ideas shared by many teachers for making use of songs in teaching English in the classroom.

Using Songs in English Teaching is an article by Ellie Keegan describing a variety of ways to make more use of songs in teaching concepts of English language literacy.

Songs which themselves have been written to teach English language literacy form the basis of the site Language Arts Songs that Teach English Grammar, Punctuation, and Spelling. Each song has lyrics which can serve as reminders for various aspects of learning about English language. The full lyrics for each song are included on the site along with samples of audio (the full audio tracks are available for purchase). Eevn without the music the lyrics will serve as useful tools to support learners of English.

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