by Tamsyn

May 13, 2016

Learn to sight-read music!

The booklet featured in this article is now only available in the members area.

Introducing "Song Reader"- a classic children's music textbook.

song reader

I love old music books.  Whereas my husband works in the computer field where books on programming are out-of-date within a few years, music books are timeless.  I even found a few of my required text-books in college at second-hand thrift stores.  Classic music books are never out-of-date, and many of them have passed into the public domain.

"Song Reader" is one such book that I was fortunate enough to stumble upon at a thrift-store.  The songs in this book have a great sequence and they are very cute!  Some are based on scale work, others have cute little words, and they start from simple, one-line songs to 4-part harmonies.  The book was especially designed for children and was meant to be used in a music classroom with several different ages.  By going through the book every year, give or take a few songs at the teacher's discretion, the younger kids benefit from singing with older, more experienced singers, while the older kids get a solid review of the basics but move on to more challenging music as the year progresses.  Younger kids sing the melody, older kids sing the harmony, and that sort of thing. 

While most public school music classrooms now have enough children of the same age this kind of setting, the approach is still a good one for families with multiple children and community, homeschooling or church children's choirs.

Modifying the music

While the overall approach of "Song Reader" is comprehensive, I have started at the very beginning and arranged 25 of the songs into a small printable booklet that you can sing with your child.  They are all color-coded and I have added pictures where applicable.  The booklet is 16 pages which you will need to print out double-sided.  Putting together the booklet will be similar to  our "Rhythm Family" booklet so I have included the pictures from that printout.  You will know if you have put the booklet together right if you can flip through the pages and see all 25 songs in order.

Step 1:  Printing double-sided

This mini-book will be sixteen pages and is self-contained on two sheets of double-printed paper.  Print with the pages set to flip on the short side. 

Step 2:  Cut horizontally

Cut a straight line down the middle horizontally.  Do not cut down the vertical line!

Step 3:  Fold horizontally

Fold each paper in half and crease well.  Each half should look similar to the picture above- a short and long rectangle.

Step 4:  Binding

Place the inner papers inside the outer pages with song #1 making the frint cover.  Flip through to make sure the songs are in order before binding.  The easiest way to do this is with a stapler, but you could also sew down the middle or glue the pages together.  Enjoy!

The bigger picture.

This mini-booklet is part of a larger effort to create and finish our video sight-reading course, currently under construction in the members area.  There are short videos for each song, and larger coloring pages for each song.  Members can expect to see more coming soon!​

song reader

About the author 


My name is Tamsyn and I love music. I got my bachelor’s degree in vocal performance from USU. I spent many years teaching private piano lessons until I had children of my own. I have attended several children workshops on how to teach children music. I really like the Kodaly method, but have adapted a lot of different techniques for my own children.

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