Welcome to your Poplit Lyrics Station!

Welcome to your Poplit Lyrics Station, which uses popular music to promote literacy learning! Media content found on YouTube.com. This website & questions created by J. Johnson, educator. Questions focus on these areas: summarizing the main idea, determining mood, figurative language and point of view, making comparisons (to music videos, 'literary' poems, other songs & forms of media) and determining their effectiveness. This site is not an endorsement of any content provided herein. It is strictly for educational purposes! This site is probably best for older students (Junior/ Intermediate/ Senior). Songs are those commonly heard on the radio.


About Poplit Lyrics

I came up with this idea while driving to work in the winter of 2010-2011. While listening to the radio, I realized that what I was listening to was poetry set to music. In fact, we are surrounded daily in our modern life with a wide variety of literacy texts, everything from newspaper & website to TV and commercial narratives--and poems on the radio.

However--I thought--do students (and adults) even realize these are literacy texts? That daily they are surrounded by narratives and narrative elements? That they engage daily with these narratives, have opinions on them, likes, dislikes, and that they should be thinking critically about it all?

Or is 'literacy' something that is commonly seen to be part of 'school' only?

So many students that I've come across as a teacher seem disenchanted and 'tuned out' of school. There seems to be a disconnect between 'real life' and 'school life'. The Ontario Ministry of Education's booklet on improving boy's literacy: Me Read? No Way! A Practical Guide to Improving Boy's Literacy Skills (Ontario Education, 2004), has two very interesting quotes related to this disconnect.

1. With regards to a survey on students’ reading and writing activities outside school that accompanied the 2003 OSSLT:

"'[Wilhelm and Smith found that] boys who were considered to be problem or highly reluctant readers in the classroom had very rich literate lives outside of school, and used various forms of literacy to
pursue their interests and goals. . . . In essence, none of the boys in [Wilhelm and Smith’s] study rejected literacy. What they did almost universally reject was ‘school literacy.’ (Hyatt, 2002, p. 12)" (p. 7)

2. With regards to the use of popular culture:

"In Misreading Masculinity, Newkirk (2002, p.170) suggests that a culture produces a broad range of narrative forms. These forms may be written, oral, visual, musical, or some combination of the four, and can include web pages, rock videos, television shows, cartoons, jokebooks, and many other materials that tend not to be “school-sanctioned”. Newkirk argues that an openness to popular culture in the classroom may be beneficial for boys, and that it does not mean that established literature, the kind that has traditionally been valued in schools, should be abandoned. Teachers should keep in mind, however, that the tighter the circle is drawn around “appropriate” materials, the greater the risk that some students
will be left out." (p. 11)

These two quotes were, in part, my inspiration for creating the original poplit, which uses multi-media & popular video to support literacy learning. This 'Lyrics' edition of poplit follows along the same lines philosophical, with the intention being to close the gap between 'school literacy' and the literacy of the 'real world' as a way to engage students and encourage them to respond with critical minds to the literacy of the modern era. It also opens up a venue for comparing past & present literacies...for example, comparing song lyrics to poems by Wordsworth

As with my other site, poplit, activities here are centered upon Ontario Language Curriculum expectations. It can be used in the classroom as a literacy workstation during literacy center time or as a whole class activity. It can also be used a home.

Unlike poplit, I would suggest this site is aimed at older students--junior/intermediate/senior levels rather than primary. Generally, I have steered away from songs with swearing, drinking/drug references or overt violence/sexuality.

Though these are video founds on youtube.com, they are all songs you would commonly hear on the radio.

They have varying degrees of complexity. Some are very straightforward (i.e.: 'let's party!'); others are more nuanced and complex.

I'm always eager for feedback! I've you've any questions, concerns or comments, please let me know! I can be reached at jujohnson@scdsb.on.ca.

Best regards,

Julie Johnson