Musical Books – Early & Emergent Reader Activity to Introduce Children to New Books

Musical Books – Early & Emergent Reader Activity to Introduce Children to New Books


Introducing Early & Emergent Readers to New Books

When I was teaching a kindergarten / first grade combo class, I was always trying new methods to get those active little minds (and bodies) excited about reading. One activity my early and emergent readers LOVED that was very successful in encouraging my students to try new books was Musical Books. Think Musical Chairs, but with books – and nobody gets left out.

This early literacy activity works best with students who are at approximately the same reading level. If students aren’t at the same reading level, encourage students to view the pictures and look for the words they know when they encounter a book that is challenging for them.

Disclosure: This post was written by a member of the Trigger Memory team – founders of Times Tales, Pet Math and the Kids Chore Chart.

Times Tables Mastery

Early Literacy Objective

To give students a fun and active opportunity to read and browse new books.


Set Up

  1. Each student selects a picture book or early reader and places it on their desk.
  2. The teacher needs a device to play music and track time.


How to Play

  1. The teacher turns on the music and allows the students to walk around the room browsing the books on each desk (without touching them). Keep the music on for approximately 30 seconds (but adjust the time as needed).


  1. When the music stops, each student must quickly sit in the desk closest to them and begin reading the book on the desk.


  1. After about 3 minutes (again, adjust the time as needed), turn the music back on.


  1. When the music goes on, the children will get up from their seats and walk around the room browsing the books again.


  1. Continue to repeat the process of turning off the music, having the children sit in the seat closest to them and read the book on the desk for approximately 3 minutes. Repeat as many times as desired.

Keep in mind that the children will not read the whole book during this activity. The goal is for them to just read part of several books to peak their interest in books they may not have considered otherwise.

Final Thoughts

This was such a fun activity to expose the students to new books while helping them get the wiggles out. It was also so rewarding to see many of my students interested in reading the books they browsed during this activity. Books that were placed on the desks during Musical Books often became the books the students wanted to read in full later on.

Looking for more fun games and activities? Download the FREE 20 Homemade Games for Learning ebook. It is loaded with engaging games to give your curriculum a fun twist. Most of the games in this printable ebook are designed for home use, but they can easily be modified to use in a classroom as well.

Pin This!

Musical Books Early and Emergent Reader Activity





    Colleen Dahlgren is a credentialed elementary school teacher and consultant for Times Tales®. She has experience teaching kindergarten, first grade and second grade and has two children who are in their late elementary and early middle school years. She enjoys helping small businesses grow and supporting her children in living their best lives!

Leave a Reply