Songs, Raps and Chants

UDL 3.2 UDL 3.3

Songs, raps and chants provide a fun and engaging method of teaching content to children while building oral language. Songs, raps and chants can perform several functions, from teaching students conversational English and vocabulary to helping them learn mathematical facts. Providing repeated practice with a selected song, rap or chant provides students with the opportunity to learn from pattern and rhythm. Adding movements also encourages students to make connections to the meaning of the words in the song, rap or chant.

Implementation Tips

Primary age or ELL students can benefit from adding visuals, gestures and movements to help them make connections.
When using [[ | songs and chants ]] for whole or small-group instruction, display the lyrics up on chart paper or the overhead so all students can see the lyrics. Use echo reading to have the students learn the song and then move to choral readings of the song until students memorize lyrics.
When teaching the song, it is helpful to start with a [[ | video ]] that provides ample visuals that the student can use to connect the words with their definitions.


When working with ELL students, pick songs that teach basic English vocabulary that can be sung throughout the school day. Write the song up on chart paper for students to see the words and draw pictures next to key words. For example, songs about the days of the week or different colors can be taught with visuals that students can use to grasp new vocabulary.
Songs that are in two languages are useful for getting students to connect their existing knowledge of the word to the English equivalent. For example, for Spanish-speakers, choose songs where the first set of lyrics is in English then repeat the lyrics in Spanish.
To help teach multiplication facts, use a rap or song that can be chanted during different times of day such as transitions to line-up, morning meeting and end-of-day pack-up.
Social Studies
Use familiar melodies and change lyrics to replace with facts about geography or historical information. For example, have students learn about the different names of continents using the tune of nursery lullabies.
Use songs or chants to help students remember the steps of following directions to common tasks such as washing hands, standing in line or cleaning up the classroom.