Learning to Use Singable Books

What is a singable book?

Typically, a singable book is a children’s picture book that is already set to a song.   A few examples include “Dinosaur Pet” by Neil Sedaka, “We All Go Traveling By” by Barefoot Books, “Mary Had a Little Lamb” by Iza Trapini. Honestly, the list is super long! If you want to get access to a comprehensive list, click here to join our email list and receive the ebook for free!

Singable books are one of my most favorite resources. They are super easy to use among other reasons link.

How to use

If someone puts a singable book in your hand, what do you do? How does that even work?

First you need to determine if you will use your voice to sing or use a provided recording. Many singable books come with a recording or you can find a recording on YouTube.

Read/sing the book several times. Often introducing something new can be a challenge for our kids so my initial approach to using these books includes just singing it through a few times until the child is familiar with it.

Fill in the blank. Allow the child to fill in a word at the end of a repetitive phrase (how much is that doggie in the ____). Once they have mastered one word, then let them fill in part of a phrase (how much is that __________). If they can complete the phrase, then give the first word of the sentence (How_______________________) and help as needed. Basically we want to encourage as much verbal language as possible. Starting with one word and building to phrases and/or sentences of a song is an excellent way to increase length of utterance.

Give processing time. I have one client who I always count slowly to at least 15 before I cue again. Some children may take up to a minute or more. Happily, I have found that many children with special needs may process information presented in musical context more quickly that spoken words.

Label Pictures. Point out the pictures and actions in the book. You may want to start with one target picture (for example: dog). Use a sing-song voice to ask your question. “What is it? Where is the dog?”


A few helpful tips:

  •  Stay on the same book for a reasonable length of time per your child’s needs. Some children can sing the book during one session and we can move on to another book the next week. Others may need a few weeks or months.
  •  I have a few who may become very attached to a particular book, and we work get it as a reward at the end of the session. I have even had to remove a beloved book from the child’s repertoire because they became so preoccupied with it (so be aware).
  •  If you are using a recording, have the player nearby so that you can pause the music when you are waiting for a response.

Simplify. Make a simplified version of the singable book. For example, if you are targeting a different animal on each page of the book, make an uncluttered version with the targeted picture only on each page. As much as a I love singable stories, sometimes the illustrations can be overwhelming and present too much information. Using the same recording or singing + a simple picture (create using google images + your word processor of choice) can definitely help draw the child’s attention to the targeted item.

Make a matching game. Use a scanner/camera copier to get pictures from the story to be matched in the book. I did this with Brown Bear, and it worked beautifully.

Guide to the Best Singable Books


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