About the Activities

I use the activities below to extend the lessons in the beginning reading textbook True Stories Behind the Songs and the high-beginning reading textbook More True Stories Behind the Songs, but they would also complement other materials and curricula, or work well on their own. They have been successful with my students, who are adults learning English at the beginning and high-beginning levels. However, most of the activities could easily be adapted for other ages and levels.

Song lyrics are often difficult to comprehend, even for native speakers of English. You’ll notice that the activities below don’t require students to understand every word of a song; instead, each activity homes in on one aspect of a song that is accessible to English language learners–an easy-to-sing chorus, for example, or a topic that is universally understood. The activity is built around that feature.

The activities are:

  1. The Targeted Cloze
  2. Summarizing the Song’s Story (and making the summary“disappear”)
  3. Class Discussion on a Song’s Theme
  4. Building a Lesson Around a Repeated Phrase
  5. Writing New Song Lyrics
  6. Singing or Speaking the Chorus
  7. Walking Lyrics-Dictation
  8. A Minimal-Prep Lesson
  9. One-Question Interview on Music

You can also find tips for Matching a Song with an Activity and general Tips for making your song-based lesson a success.