Best learning songs
Can you perform the alphabet song? Sing multiplication tables to music? Chant the names of the kings and queens of England, set to a tune? Is singing a song easier than reciting a list of facts? For most of us, children and adults, it is.
Songs are brilliant learning tools in the primary-school classroom, and often used to great effect. Music helps us memorise facts (presented as catchy lyrics) in a fun way. Singing keeps us alert and helps the brain to assimilate information by presenting information as parts (the individual facts) and a whole (the song itself, which includes lots of facts about a topic). A study published by International Journal of Science Education, Leveraging the power of music to improve science education, examined over 1,000 students to compare their understanding and engagement in response to 24 musical and non-musical science videos. The students preferred the music videos and scored better on tests when they'd seen them; the research results also hinted that videos with music might help students remember the information presented to them better in the long term.
From number facts to grammar definitions and science explanations, we love the songs that help us master every subject. Here are some of the learning songs we love, with links to YouTube channels so you can hear more and pick your favourites:
Phonics sounds are often introduced with songs and actions in Reception; the Jolly Phonics system is commonly used in UK classrooms. All the hugely popular songs from Jolly Phonics are now available in one iTunes app, which includes the actions too.
NUMBEROCK produces educational songs and videos for kids, with a focus on maths. Didn't think it was possible to sing about calculating area or graphing coordinates? Think again!
Times tables songs
There's a huge range of multiplication music available. We love teacher Mr DeMaio's times-tables covers of classic songs, or try the MathRockx app, which offers times tables tables lyrics to popular music.
Human biology songs
From teeth to bones, liver and heart, Kids Learning Tube has lots of human anatomy tunes to help you undertand the inner workings of the body.
For songs about parts of speech (presented as animated characters), head to Grammaropolis.
UK primary-school teachers Mr A, Mr C and Mr D wrote and performed all the literacy songs on the Literacy Jukebox (available on the App Store); you can also see their videos about hyperbole, synonyms, onomatopeia and more on their YouTube channel.
The musical sketches in CBBC's Horrible Histories are some of the best. You'll find loads of classic songs, including the English Kings and Queens Song, on the CBBC Horrible Histories website.
Schoolhouse Rock songs
Schoolhouse Rock was a 1970s Saturday morning educational cartoon series in the United States. The songs cover history, science, times tables and grammar and are definitely worth searching for on YouTube.
The most impressive learning song ever!
"Just" the elements of the periodic table, recited to a famous Gilbert and Sullivan tune by American singer-songwriter and mathematician Tom Lehrer. A fantastic watch / listen... and why not challenge your child to have a go and join in yourself?
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