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Music helps reading

John King
Northern News Services

Yellowknife (Dec 21/05) - Jessica Latour has been thinking outside of the box for most of her career. The early childhood educator from Hay River gave a workshop last week on how to combine music and literacy by encouraging children to make instruments out of everyday household items.

"The patterns in music are similar to the patterns in speech," Latour said.

The workshop, a brainchild of Latour's, is aptly named Rockin'Rythmn, and was developed by Latour while helping children read and write in Hay River.

"Children love to sing, dance and move around," Latour said. "Children are born with a natural love of music."

The workshop was part of a Literacy Council's symposium, an annual series of workshops to help educators make learning how to read and write fun for children. Held at Northern United Place, the workshop attracted more than 20 participants.

Instruments such as motion wands made of chop sticks, kazoos from toilet paper rolls, and tambourines using paper plates were some of the instruments Latour showed participants how to make.

"Getting children involved in the process of learning is really important," Latour said. "This will help educators get this idea started in their own communities."

Because each child is unique, said Latour, sometimes educators need to tailor their teaching methods to meet the learning needs of a child.

"Singing is the oldest way of telling a story," Latour said.