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On a Musical Note: Exploring Reading Strategies by Creating a Soundtrack
|Grades||6 – 8|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Four 50-minute sessions|
No matter where you teach, students are likely to listen to music. Their tastes may vary widely—pop, rap, country, classic, jazz, R & B. Regardless of their preferences, they each bring a rich knowledge of musical tunes and lyrics to the classroom. This lesson takes advantage of that interest by asking students to create a soundtrack for a novel that they have read. Students begin by analyzing how specific songs might fit with a familiar story. Students then create their own soundtracks for the movie version of a novel they have read. They select songs that match the text and fit specific events in the story. Finally, students share their projects with the class and assess their work using a rubric. Examples in this lesson focus on The Beast by Walter Dean Myers, but any piece of literature can be used as the basis of students' soundtracks.
CD/DVD Cover Creator: Using this online tool, student can design and print cd or dvd covers and insert booklets.
In "Film and Reading Strategies," Chapter Two from Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom, John Golden explains that "anytime we can get students fully involved in a text, we know we have done our job" (59). This lesson plan accomplishes that goal by encouraging students to match their knowledge of musical texts and film with the novels that they are reading. While such activities may at first seem nontraditional, Golden tells us students tap traditional reading strategies such as "predicting, responding, questioning, and visualizing" (59), all of which are important skills for students to develop and practice. Additionally, the project becomes one of multimodal exploration, as it asks students not only to compose words but to match words with sounds to make meaning.
This lesson was adapted from the "Soundtrack" activity explained in Reading in the Dark.
Golden, John. 2001. Reading in the Dark: Using Film as a Tool in the English Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.