Songwriting for Ages 5-8 with Emily Arrow

On January 12, 2016 Pasadena Library’s monthly Creative Writing for Beginning Readers workshop (ages 5-8) had a very special guest instructor to teach songwriting: Emily Arrow! Emily (www.emilyarrow.com) tours all over the country performing her songs about children’s literature, and has a CD coming out in February. She presented a wonderful workshop sharing books and songs with kids ages 5-8 and then she helped them all to write a beautiful song as a group!
First she read the book Are We There Yeti? by Ashlyn Anstee and then we all sang the adorable song she wrote about that book:
Then she read Dot Town: Where Are You Blue? by Sonali Fry, illustrated by Holly Clifton-Brown. Emily helped the kids to come up with a song based on that book, with a verse and a catchy chorus.  Here’s the group coming up with our first verse:
Emily has a lot of teaching experience and it shows in the gentle way she interacts with the kids and in the quality of the materials she created for teaching them basic concepts about songwriting:
The children learned how songwriters make decisions about what kind of instrument to use, whether to write the song in the low, middle or high range, and whether to write it at a fast, medium or slow tempo.  They also learned the basic structure of a song: Verse 1 – Chorus – Verse 2 – Chorus, and got practice putting together rhymes.
Here’s our finished song, with lyrics that were 100% written by the kids:
Emily wrapped up with a performance of her song Louise Loves Art based on the book by Kelly Light:
We had a great crowd and it was a workshop that got all the kids writing rhyming lyrics and singing!  Here are some photos from the program:
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If you’re interested in buying Emily’s CD, she’s doing a special launch party at Once Upon a Time Bookstore in Montrose on February 20th. We’ll be getting her CD for the library’s collection soon!  The songs are all based on books for kids, and they are beautiful and very fun to sing along to!
Our next Creative Writing Workshop for this age group will be Tuesday, February 9th at 4:30 pm in the Central Library Story Room.  Call the Children’s Desk to register: 626-744-4066 option 4.

AnnMarie Kolakowski

I'm a youth services librarian working in the Children's Room at the Pasadena Central Library. I purchase juvenile nonfiction books for all sites, juvenile Spanish books for all sites, and juvenile DVDs for the Central Library. I do a lot of programs with school-age kids, including Lucha Libros, writing workshops, and STEAM/science programs. I also do 16 weeks of Infant/Toddler Storytimes each year. I love what I do, working with kids of all ages to inspire them to learn and use their curiosity and imaginations. Outside of my work at the library, I am also the author of a book on creative writing activities for kids.

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