Welcome to Tuneful Teaching! I am a Board Certified Music Therapist and a mom of three. I am a lifelong learner with a pile of books waiting to be read in almost every room. Through the powerful medium of music, I target non-musical goals such as communication, motor, social, and cognitive skills. I enjoy working with people of all ages including the elderly and children and adults with developmental disabilities. In recent years, I have developed a specialty area of math and literacy tutoring through music. Reading is a passion of mine and in the process of developing strategies to help kids with autism learn to read, I became interested in researching phonological awareness. I am in the final editing stages of a book on this topic titled Alphabet Stew and Chocolate Too: Songs for Developing Phonological Awareness, Literacy, and Communication Skills.
The focus of my blog is primarily on teaching literacy skills and other academic concepts through music. Resources found in this website will also help typically developing three to six year olds learn to read. In addition, the songs are age appropriate for older students who are still struggling. My passion is helping all individuals learn the life altering skill of learning to read. By teaching the foundational skills of phonological awareness, children develop the building blocks needed for literacy and communication.
Following the theme of making connections for Music Therapy Advocacy Month, a wonderful discovery for me occurred when I started working with a six year old girl on the autism spectrum named Emily. As part of the assessment process, her primary goal areas were identified as communication skills, perceptual-motor integration, and literacy.
In school, Emily was in a Cognitive Disabilities classroom where she was the highest functioning child regarding literacy, so they weren’t trying to teach her additional reading skills. Emily knew all her letter names and the sounds they made, but she wasn’t reading.
As I did research about teaching someone to read, it became clear that focusing on phonological awareness would develop the building blocks needed for literacy. Learning about phonological awareness was one of those great discoveries that targeted the root of the learning difficulty, rather than just treating the “problem.” I had a hunch that it would also improve Emily’s ability to focus on auditory input, which would have an impact on her communication skills—and it did!
I have since observed this connection in the literacy and communication behaviors of several children, especially those who have a visual strength and those who experienced multiple ear infections during a critical stage of their development. Stay tuned and I’ll be going further in depth about what phonological awareness is and how you can develop it through music-based strategies. What questions do you have about teaching literacy?
In honor of Social Media Advocacy Month for music therapy, the Tuneful Teaching Blog is officially taking flight. This has been in the works for about a year. I have been enjoying all the great music therapy blogs out there, all the while learning and planning for my own launch.
As a music therapist, I treat the whole child. While many other therapies specialize in a specific area (e.g. speech, gross motor)—and I’m glad they do because the kids we work with need that specialty—music therapists look at the person as a whole. In many cases, the area that is the biggest struggle for a child in school and other therapy settings is the area where I see the biggest growth in music therapy!
Because the work that music therapists do is so diverse, Board Certified Music Therapists tend to find a niche and become highly informed about that specific area. My niche is working with kids who are struggling to learn academic concepts. In recent years, my primary focus has been on teaching literacy skills through music.
Follow me here at www.TunefulTeaching.com and I will do my best to share what I have learned and to help you become comfortable with using music to teach. My goal is to provide valuable information for both the music therapy community and all professionals working in the field of education.