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RETA Sue Snyder
Reading Excellence Through the Arts
Integrate Literacy and the Arts A Special Interest Group of the  International Reading Association


  • Development of programs that support literacy in, about and through the arts.
  • Sharing information on theory, research and practice demonstrating effective links between the literacy and the arts.
  • Development of materials which support research based, developmentally appropriate arts/literacy practices
  • Supporting and honoring teachers, schools, districts, and arts based organizations that promote literacy in, about and through the arts.
  • Development of a network of educators commited to excellence through linking literacy and the arts.
  • A biannual newsletter. Contents include informatin about research, programs, products and issues related to our mission and membership.
  • Representation of the arts at the international conference, and whenever possible, regional conferences.
  • Representation in IRA publications through articles, news spots and advertisements.
  • Collaboration on workshops, seminars, institutes and courses linking the arts and literacy.
  • Awards and recognition to teachers, administrators, programs and organizations that provide examplary models of arts infused literacy programs.
  • Materials to support RETA goals and objectives.

From: Teaching With the Brain in Mind, by Eric Jensen, page 37:
To review the evidence, we turn to :

  • Norman Weinberger, a neuroscientist at the University of California at Irvine. He's an expert on the auditory cortex and its response to music. He says, "An increasing amount of research findings supports the theory that the brain is specialized for the building blocks of music" (Weinberger 1995, p. 6). Much research suggest that the auditory cortex responds to pitches and tones rather than simply raw sound frequencies, and individual brain cells process melodic contour. Music may, in fact, be critical for later cognitive activities.
  • Lamb and Gregory (1993) found a high correlation between pitch discrimination and reading skills.
  • Mohanty and Hejmadi (1992) found that musical dance training boosted scores on the Torrance Test of Creativity. ."
  • "The arts humanize the curriculum while affirming the interconnectedness of all forms of knowing. They are a powerful means to improve general education."
    -- Charles Fowler

Using Writing and Math Skills in Music Class

From: Greta Pedersen
Date: Wed, 19 Aug 1998

Chris Lamb asked, "How do you integrate your curriculum? I am suppose to have the students use writing and math skills on a regular basis in music class. Could you name some simple ways I can accomplish this?


A late response, but here goes.

You are already doing a lot without knowing it. Years ago, as a brand new school music teacher at a school that had never HAD a music teacher, the woman who taught first grade credited my music program with helping her students learn to read faster and more fluently, than any previous years' students. Why?

1) I was teaching simple Kodaly rhythms, reinforcing the left to right eye movement for reading.

2) The songs we sang reinforced the rhythmic flow of the language.

3) We played around with rhyming, and rewriting words to songs.

I just heard this summer that in a workshop for teaching math, the instructor taught square and contra dances (among other things). Why?

The dancing reinforces

spatial orientation (I need to be at a certain place and move to another),

  • patterns (the movement patterns of the dance), and temporal abilities (doing things at a certain time).
    Reinforcing math concepts
  • Patterns are big in math. Just point out the patterns of a song - ABAB, ABA, whatever
  • Have the kids write songs, or rewrite verses to existing songs, and you create a creative writing project.
  • Define words in songs that the kids may not understand, and you expand their vocabulary. Point out aliteration (sp?), rhythming patterns, or whatever else is interesting in the lyrics.
  • Have them sing songs, or listen to composers, of whatever they are studying in social studies, and the teachers will love you. (Be sure to let them know!)

I'm sure you can come up with even more ideas. Have fun!


Greta Pedersen - By the way, I give workshops, mainly to classroom teachers (but music teachers have enthusiastically attended), on how to incorporate music into the "general" curriculum.

Magical Music Express/Accent On Music

19363 Willamette Dr., #252
West Linn, OR 97068

Phone: 503 699 1814
Fax: 503 699 1813


Physics of Sound
From: "Jim Holcomb" <> The BOSE company has a terrific unit on the physics of music and math. They do have a web site link from MENC web page

Reading Recovery Home Page
and another is <>
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