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Singing as an Early Learning Activity

When you sing and rhyme with your child, you can have fun while building phonological awareness.

Your child won’t mind if you aren’t giving a Grammy worthy performance when you sing Wheels on the Bus to them. In fact, singing with your child is a fun way to support their early literacy skill development. It is also a critically important activity to help develop phonological awareness, which is just the ability to hear and manipulate smaller sounds in words. When you sing with your child, you are slowing the language and assigning different notes to syllables, making it easier for little ears to recognize different sounds. All of this prepares children to be ready to learn to read in Kindergarten.


  • Clap along to a song or rhyme to help distinguish different syllables.
  • Incorporate movement like swaying and bouncing when you sing. For babies, this can help sooth them and adding motions will help antsy toddlers and preschoolers stay entertained and engaged. This can also be very helpful if your or your child’s ability to hear or verbalize makes singing difficult.
  • Read a book that incorporates a popular song or rhyme with your child.
  • Check out music for kids on Hoopla Digital. You can find loads of free songs to stream or download, including ones in different languages.


  • Singing slows down language and makes it easier for children to recognize different sounds within words and play with them.
  • By breaking down words into different notes, children will be able to hear initialized sounds better.
  • Listening to songs and following along with rhythms and rhymes, also develops phonological awareness which is essential for learning to read.

Whether or not you are hitting all those high notes, you and your child will find enjoyment in singing and experiencing songs and rhymes together. Take this as a license to be as silly as possible! Your child will be engaged and grow critical early literacy skills all while having a great time. What questions do you have that the Library can help with? Ask us in chat, by calling 412.622.3114 or by stopping into your neighborhood Library. Reading is one of five important early learning activities. Learn about the other four by revisiting the Early Learning Activities page!

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