Therefore, I’m always incredibly happy to see products like Cantata Learning’s new story books which incorporate music and movement in engaging and enjoyable ways. Let’s take a look!
The video covers a lot of awesome ideas about cross-curricular connections and student production tasks, which I love. I think it also draws a solid connection between what we typically focus on here at the Roundup in terms of education technology. Having students create their own stories, or their own music, dance movements, etc. are all awesome ideas (which can be supported through multiple edtech pathways), as is integrating the books with a smartboard or interactive screen.
Plus, the narrator’s note about using these books for differentiation for ESL and SPED students is an excellent suggestion. I also really love the fact that each book has a QR code on the back for students and teachers to be able to access the music online.
As for pricing, each book generally runs at around $10 for the paperback edition and $30 for the library-binded/hardcover edition. Paperback has the option of with or without the CD and hardcover comes with CD. All of the music is available to download and stream for free from their website as well: www.cantatalearning.com. Let’s take a look at an example from a classroom to get a better feel of what this might look like:
From simple sing-along stories (e.g. The Muffin Man, She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain) to books that cover more social-emotional learning (e.g. The Mad Monkey) to inspiring students to get involved in STEM fields (e.g. Math Saves the Day) to learning about social justice issues (e.g. Peaceful Leader: Martin Luther King, Jr.) there are an enormous number of topics these books aim to cover.
For this review I had the chance to check out seven different books from their series:
- Math Saves the Day
- The Muffin Man
- She’ll Be Coming Around the Mountain
- Who Lives By a Pond?
- When You Want to Cross the Street, Look Both Ways
- The Mad Monkey
- Chocolate Chimpanzees
Out of all of them, The Mad Monkey was my favorite. The book dealt with understanding emotions, conflict resolution, empathy, and all sorts of wonderful skills that are so important to help foster at the preK-3 level.
Like with all the books, it came with a CD which contained three different tracks: (1) the book; (2) the song only; (3) an instrumental version of the song. But as mentioned above, the back of every book has a QR code so you can access the music online for free as well, which is particularly handy given the rate CD players are vanishing from modern computers.
All of the books in the series are set to familiar melody’s as well, and they’re meant to be easy for students to quickly pick up and sing along to. Plus the music is printed at the back of each book in case you want to bring in a guest performer, or have the students perform!
For those looking for any research backing the idea that music can support literacy, increase motivation and engagement, and allow for a wide variety of other benefits, you can check out Cantata Learning’s research page as well.
Overall, I’m a really big fan of what Cantata Learning has put together here. The combination of music and story works incredibly well, the topics that are being covered are beneficial for preK-3 students, and there are a lot of great connections to EdTech possibilities and student production tasks. If you are in a preK-3 classroom and looking for ways to incorporate music or get students more engaged with stories and literacy, I absolutely recommend checking out Cantata Learning.
The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I was not compensated for writing this review.
I received seven books from the Cantata Learning series for the purpose of this review.