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Check out the activities for using songs to teach reading

Everyday is Like Sunday


Questions for Discussion

​1) Look up Armageddon in the dictionary - what does it mean?

2) What is this song about? What is the main message of the song?

3) What do you think about the place he is describing? What words make you think this?


Activities: Characterisation of a place 

Everyday is like Sunday is a good resource for teaching children about characterisation.

​Ask the children: what sorts of things they think would happen here? what do you think the town is called?

Ask the children to come up many words as they can to describe the coastal town described in the song. Then ask the children what it would be called. e.g. Miserableshire, Glumtown etc. You can use suffixes such as 'shire', 'pool', ''town' or 'ster' to give the place names a realistic feel - you can also add 'on-sea' too. 

​Using these place names and adjectives the children can write a postcard from the seaside town in the Morrissey song. 

Click here for a link to the lyrics. 

A Change is Gonna Come

Sam Cooke

Questions for Discussion

Sam Cooke's 'A Change is Gonna Come' is a useful song for analysing messages. It ties in well with any work on racism and rights. 

1) Find and copy one word that means city or town centre.

2) Who do you think the writer is? Why do you think this?

3) What was their early life like? What makes you think this?

4) How do you think that they are feeling? (The right answer is not either 'happy' or 'sad, be more specific!)

5) 'I go to the movie and I go downtown//somebody keep telling me don't hang around' - what do you think this 6) section is about? Why was somebody telling him not to 'hang around'?

7) What is the main message of this song? Why do you think this? What words make you think this?

8) What are rights?

9) P4C: Do people all over the world have the same rights? If not, why not?

Click here for a link to the lyrics. 

There'll Always be an England: WW2

Vera Lynn

This song was released in 1939 and is a very patriotic war-time song. It is a really useful resource for immersing children in WW2 as it is another lens through which to understand how people lived during the wartime. 

Questions for Discussion

1) Use your dictionaries to find out what awry means.

2) Find one word that means self-respect.

3) Why does the singer talk about a country lane and a small cottage?

4) What does the singer mean by ‘a million marching feet?

5) ‘Red, white and blue’ – what is the singer talking about here?

6) Why does the singer say ‘Britons, awake’?

7) 'There'll always be an England While there's a busy street//Wherever there's a turning wheel//A million marching feet' – what is the point that these three lines are trying to make?

8) What is the message of the song?

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

Talkin' Bout a Revolution

Tracy Chapman

Questions for Discussion

1) Use a dictionary to find out what ‘salvation’ means

2) ‘Poor people gonna rise up’ – what does ‘rise up’ mean?

3) What is a revolution?

4) 'While they're standing in the welfare lines//Crying at the doorsteps of those armies of salvation//Wasting time in the unemployment lines//Sitting around waiting for a promotion' - Who is talking about a revolution?

5) ‘Poor people are gonna rise up and get their share’ – what does the singer mean by they’re ‘gonna get their share’?

6) Who do you think is being told that they ‘better run run run’? And why?

7) ‘The tables are starting to turn’ – what does this mean?

Click here for a link to the lyrics. 

Viva La Vida: Story Writing


Coldplay's 'Viva La Vida' tells a rags to riches story of a person who once ruled a kingdom but has now lost everything he had. There is enough ambiguity in the story's details to allow children to be creative with writing inspired by this song. 

The story explores the themes of loss and change. These could act as useful plot problems in story writing. 

Possible plot prompts could be:

Where is the story set?

When is the story set?

From whose perspective is the story being told?

What happened to this person?

Why did this person lose everything they had?

Who rules the kingdom now?

How do they feel about what has happened?

Click here for a link to the lyrics.

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