Giant Sightreading Cards

I decided as I was doing some lesson planning last night that it needed to be a “fun” sightreading week in my studio.  Part of our weekly private lesson routine is to start each lesson with sightreading and/or technique.   Many students will be arriving at lessons a little stressed this week.  At school, they’re working on state assessments, plus in our studio we’re down to our last week of prep before a big solo festival on Saturday.   We need to start with something fun!

Doesn’t this corner of the studio look “fun” now??  Earlier this semester, I created a set of giant sightreading cards my students could use on the floor with Boomwhackers (and whatever other pitched percussion I could find on the shelf).   They were a BIG hit with my students.  We’ve pulled them out several times since then, and since the kids always ask to do several cards at a time, we’ve quickly run through the initial set of 8 melody excerpts I made.   It was time to make more!

Sets 2 and 3 of the Giant Sightreading cards are now available on my website.  Set 2 includes 8 4-measure melody cards that use quarter, half and whole notes (very similar to Set 1 that’s already on the site).  Since my older students always ask to do this activity when they see the boomwhackers out, I also created Set 3 that includes eighth notes and harder melodies.   All of the cards use only a diatonic, one-octave C scale so they can be used with Boomwhackers.

One thing that I particularly love about this activity is that since it doesn’t use finger numbers, I really know if the little ones are learning to sightread by note or interval instead of by finger.   They’ve GOT to figure out those notes!

Giant Sightreading Cards, Set 3
Giant Sightreading Cards, Set 3
Giant Sightreading Cards 3.pdf
145.3 KiB
Giant Sightreading Cards, Set 2
Giant Sightreading Cards, Set 2
Giant Sightreading Cards 2.pdf
144.5 KiB


Giant Sightreading Cards — 4 Comments

  1. Lisa,

    I have a diatonic set of Boomwhackers (that you see in the xylo-tote holder on the left), plus a chromatic set (they’re not in the picture). The smaller xylophone to the right is a toy that I’ve had since I was a kid! I’ve acquired a lot of percussion instruments over the years, so whenever we sightread, I just pull out all of the pitched instruments so students have some options.

    Thanks for stopping by!


  2. Hello Jen
    I love love your site. Your creativity in lesson planning is very inspiring. I’m a piano teacher in Northern Ireland and I’ve just purchased a set of boomwhackers based on your blog. My pupils are loving them epecially the youngest ones. Thank you so much for this very cool idea! I do have a question, what’s the other instrument in you photo called (it looks like a tambourine)?
    Kindest Regards from Northern Ireland 🙂

  3. Hi Maria,

    Good to hear from you! I hope you find many fun uses for your new Boomwhackers – they’re one of my absolute FAVORITE teaching tools. The other instrument in the picture is a mini steel drum that my husband brought home from a mission trip to Tobago. I keep it on a display shelf in my studio and my students find it fascinating – it’s not everyday you see a steel drum! One of them actually came up with the idea of using it for sightreading one day, so now I offer it as an option in addition to the Boomwhackers when we pull the big sightreading cards out.

    Have fun with your new “toys”!

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