A Perfect Read-Aloud, Sing-Along Book


In my music enrichment classes for young children, I often read stories to which I add repeated, sung phrases or “sound effects” children can join in on. I find this adds:

              1. Engagement as children focus in on the story and listen for the auditory cues
for “their part,”

              2. Empowerment as children get involved in the telling of the story, and

              3. Enjoyment as they experience the story on a more personal level, while at
the same time sharing in a social experience with their classmates.

This week I’m reading one of my favorites, “I Went Walking” by Sue Williams, first published in 1996, but still in print – you can find it here. It’s really a “perfect book” for preschool read-alouds, and especially for adding an element of singing.

It’s perfect because it’s simple and repetitive, yet engaging for children from toddlers through kindergarten. The illustrations are colorful and attractive, and unfussy – no gratuitous details to distract your audience. Best of all, for me, the text is rhythmic and rhyming and is easily sung. I change the basic phrase – “I went walking, What did you see?/ I saw a __________ looking at me” into a four-line song:

              I went walking, What did you see?
I went walking, What did you see?
I went walking, What did you see?
I saw a _________ looking at me!

I made up my own tune, but it also fits the tune of “Skip to My Lou.” I also encourage the children to join in on the animal sounds.

“I Went Walking” is so simple that every time I use it, I’m amazed at its appeal to every class I teach. Not only to they enjoy it, but they catch on to the song and sing along perfectly without any prompting! It’s always a wonderful shared experience.




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