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Somewhere Over the Rainbow a wonderful writing lesson

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"Over the Rainbow" (often referred to as "Somewhere Over the Rainbow") is included in "Songs of the Century" list. As well as considered a classic Academy Award-winning ballad, music by Harold Arlen and lyrics by E.Y. Harburg. It was written for the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, and sung by actress Judy Garland as Dorothy.

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Today, children still sing this song, they know it. Why?

It is the art of the wordsmith -Lyricist Edgar Yipsel “Yip” Harburg-who created writing that is still pleasing to the ear, and clearly expresses the intended message/emotion. Somewhere Over the Rainbow is a wonderful writing lesson.

Music can help children understand that language should be explored and enjoyed-not just learned-mastered and used.

"Somewhere Over the Rainbow" would not have stood the test of time if the language was not precise. It is an excellent piece of work to begin to help children understand how to write well.

· Start with the lyrics printed out.

· Listen to an artist sing the song.

· Then have your child read (or sing) the words.

· Talk about the lyrics. What if you changed the words? Are these the best words?

· Turn to a piece of their own work.

· Could they improve their work by changing a few of the words?

· Use a picture dictionary and thesaurus to help find precise words.

Teaching your child to be a wordsmith is teaching them to be the expert of what they write by playing with new words. To play with words until they get them to sound perfect. "Over the Rainbow" could be the beginning of an extensive vocabulary.

Lyrics to "Over the Rainbow" as sung by Judy Garland

Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
There's a land that I heard of once in a lullaby
Somewhere over the rainbow, Skies are blue,
And the dreams that you dare to dream, really do come true...

Someday I'll wish upon a star
And wake up where the clouds are far behind me
Where troubles melt like lemon drops
Away above the chimney tops, that's where you'll find me

Somewhere over the rainbow, blue birds fly
Birds fly over the rainbow, why then, oh why can't I?

If happy little blue birds fly beyond the rainbow
Why, oh why can't I?

Over the Rainbow (Book & Audio CD) by Judy Collins is a beautiful picture book and CD set. The artwork by Eric Puybaret-- takes readers from a little red farmhouse up over the rainbow, into the sky where bluebirds and beyond. Grade 1–5


Rhonda Cratty includes her experiences of 30 years of public school teaching, raising children of her own, and articles written for on-line and hard copy publications -within the pages of Learning at home. Learning at home can be purchased in print or eBook form through

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