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Do Re Mi: If You Can Read Music, Thank Guido D'Arezzo

Last updated Thursday, February 21, 2008

Author: Susan Roth
Illustrator: Susan Roth
Date of Publication: 2007
ISBN: 0618465723
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Mar. 2008

Synopsis: From Amazon.com: If you can read musical notes, you can sing any song or play any piece. But musical notes have not always been here. Long ago, songs were memorized. If songs were forgotten, they were lost forever. Thanks to one man, Guido d"Arezzo, music now can last forever.

Note to readers:
•  Here are some vocabular words you may want to explain:
•  Staffs, clefs, sharps, flats (musical notations)
•  Tuscany
•  Benadictine (an order of monks of the Roman Catholic church)
•  Parchment (old fashioned paper)
•  Vespers (a religious service in the evening
•  Homiliy (a religious sermon)
•  Epiphany (a sudden realization)
•  Bishop (supervisor in the Catholic church)
•  Pope (leader of the Catholic church)
•  Gregorian chant (music without instruments)

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you have a music program at your school? Do you play an instrument or sing in a choir?
•  Have you heard of “do re mi”
•  What’s your favorite kind of music?
•  Have you ever seen written music? Do you know how to read music?
•  Have you ever heard two different version of the same song?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Do you know where Italy is?
•  Do you have any songs memorized? How did you learn them? Did you read them from music or did someone sing/play it for you?
•  Have you heard the same song in more than one language? Were the words different? Was the music different?
•  On the 2nd page (where the boys are singing) which one is Guido? How do you know?
•  Do you think Guido’s idea to write music is a good one?
•  Has anyone ever told you a story that they made up? When they (or you) told it again, was it the same? What could you do to make sure you tell it in exactly the same way the next time? How is this similar to what Guido was doing with music?
•  How many times does Guido move? Have you ever moved? Would you want to move again? What are some good things/bad things that happen when you move?
•  Have you ever had a good idea? Did your friends and family think it was a good idea too? Is it easier to try out your idea on your own or with the help of your family and friends?

Craft ideas:
•  Guido created a language for music. Create your own language to communicate with your friends. You can use letters, symbols, numbers, or even hand signs!
•  Write your own song or the notes for a song you know. Try to play it when you take it home.
•  Create your own instrument: take a small piece of cardboard, and put rubber bands around it. Pluck/strum the strings like a guitar.
•  Bring ahead options: magazines. Make a torn paper collage to look like the illustrations in the book.
•  Make Guido’s cloud of musical anxiety as a mobile.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!