What’s New with Cantata Learning?



3 Ways Your Community Can Bolster Your Book Budget January 26, 2017


Future Ready Librarians shoulder the responsibility of aligning their library’s resources to their school’s objectives in order to create a learning hub that meets the needs of students as well as staff. When broken down into actionable items, the to do list can be a bit daunting: improving collections and providing engaging learning materials, expanding the library’s digital resources, and helping students develop responsible digital citizenship, to name a few.

This is admittedly a lot for anyone to accomplish, especially when one has to contend with limited financial means, as has been reality for many schools for many years. But because of their training, access to resources, and teaching spaces, librarians are uniquely positioned to help lead their schools toward a Future Ready learning model. Part of that leadership and implementation is firmly tied to budget management. Whether it’s stretching the budget further or finding additional funds, sometimes skillful management means getting pretty creative.

One of the ten initiatives set forth for Future Ready Librarians is to cultivate community partnerships. At Cantata Learning we’ve really enjoyed getting to know some fantastic educators through our Harmony Project campaigns. One such educator is our Community Harmony Project winner Michelle Griffith, an elementary school lead media specialist for Brazosport ISD in Texas. We’ve been impressed by Griffith’s smart budgeting tricks, and so in the name of cultivating community, we wanted to share a few of them with you today.

Griffith’s Tips for Finding More Funds

Tip 1: The beginning of the calendar year can be tough, but now is a good time to look at Federal dollars that perhaps have not been spent.  The ESSA allows for Federal money to be spent in libraries. So reach out to your Federal program folks and find out if you can get a portion of what is not earmarked!

Tip 2: I also look into local as well as national grants. Many companies offer incentives for employees who volunteer. For instance, Dow Chemical will make a $500 donation to a school on behalf of a community volunteer who is employed by Dow.

Tip 3: We host book fairs twice each year. I have also found great success with having a fundraiser dinner one night during book fair. We offer a meal (entree, cookie, and a drink) for $5.00 a plate. We get local businesses and Brannen parents to donate the items for the dinner, so all the money we earn is pure profit. We generally earn about $1,000. Attendees always go to the book fair as well, so we earn money there too!

Paying It Forward

Griffith also participated in Cantata Learning’s Give a Shout Out to Your Community Harmony Project. Students took part by reading our books and attending our live streaming Community Meet & Greets with several speakers including an author, eye doctor, singer, and bike mechanic.

By submitting to and winning the project, she won 25 free books for her school as well as 25 free books for Texas Children’s Hospital. Her school already collects toys for the B.I.G. Love Cancer Care drive at the hospital each year. The toys (and the books!) go to children undergoing treatment in the cancer ward there.

Congratulations again Michelle, we’re so proud of you and the work you do!

Get Involved with Us

We’re always looking to grow new relationships with librarians, whether its through Harmony Projects, lesson plan submissions, or reviewing books. Interested in talking with us more or becoming a reviewer? We invite you to reach out to us by emailing info@cantatalearning.com. We look forward to hearing from you!


This post is the first in a series of Future Ready budget-friendly ideas. Stay tuned for more!


Press Release: Updated Website with New Features and Functionalities January 19, 2017

Cantata Learning Unveils Updated Website with New Features and Functionalities

Website updates include new blog, additional teaching resources, the ability to stream and download music, and enhanced search capabilities

(Mankato, MN) January 11, 2017 – Cantata Learning, an educational publisher of preK–3 curriculum content and music, is proud to announce the launch of their updated website. The new website now includes many new features and resources that will aid school librarians in finding relevant curriculum and finding ways to implement it in their libraries.

Additional resources on the website include specially built lesson plans centered around Cantata Learning stories and songs. Website users will also find research articles about literacy and the use of music and movement to teach children, as well as presentations on best practices for implementing this teaching method. Cantata Learning has made all of their songs available free to stream or download from their website, including instrumental-only audio and sheet music.

“We believe these upgrades to our website will enrich the library experience for both adults and students with Cantata Learning books and songs,” said General Manager Katherine Coughlan Hobson. “The additional lesson plans and research give librarians a better understanding of how these resources will improve student learning, and the advanced search features make it easier than ever to find lessons relevant to required curriculum.”

Teachers and librarians will find that the search capabilities on the new website have also been improved. Users can now search for lessons by subject, grade, reading level, and music genre. There is also the option to search for a complete series of books, such as “Taking Care of Myself,” “Jokes and Jingles,” and “Science Biographies.”

“Music is such a powerful tool to teach children and engage them with the curriculum,” said Coughlan Hobson. “Cantata Learning is proud to be able to offer teachers these new website features so that they can more easily bring this tool into their classrooms.”

About Cantata Learning

Cantata Learning combines engaging stories, delightful illustrations, and fun songs for a complete multi-sensory learning experience that engages every type of learner. Cantata Learning content supports the entire curriculum from language arts and social studies to STEAM. Cantata Learning books are ideal for reading levels preK–3 in the school and library markets. For more information, visit CantataLearning.com.

About Capstone

Capstone is a leading publisher of children’s books, digital solutions and services, literacy programs, and K–12 professional development resources. Capstone creates content in a variety of print, digital and media formats for school libraries, classrooms, and at-home reading. For more information, visit www.myCapstone.com.

Media Contact

Sue Hanson
PR with Panache!

3 Ways Music Brings Libraries to Life January 19, 2017


By Shannon McClintock Miller

I want you to picture this: the first graders are learning all about seeds during the plant unit in the fall. To help them understand and remember the information, the teacher introduces Little Seeds from Cantata Learning by reading and singing with the students.  

Give seeds warmth. Give them water. A plant could grow from everyone. Not only does the song help them remember the facts about seeds, the music gets them moving and interacting with others.

As Heather Wolpert-Gawron states in 8 Ways To Use Music In The Language Arts Classroom, “Music opens up neurons, opens doors in your brain that create a kind of loft space receptive to learning.” This is exactly what is happening in this classroom as the science concepts come to life with music. Bringing music to the classroom is something everyone can do, and here are three easy ways music can bring your classroom to life too!  

Move to Focus

Music is a meaningful way to expend energy and get students focused on learning. “Singing encourages oral language skills, physical development, and an understanding of concepts such as sequence and patterning.” (Connors, 2016). You can make music part of the daily routine such as lining up, taking turns and even finding books in the library. By completing these tasks to songs and movement, children will learn and enjoy them so much more.  

Work That Brain Muscle

Music helps children with retention and memorization. “Music helps many children break information down into easily remembered pieces or associate it with previously known information, such a familiar song” (Ringgenberg, 2016). I remember how helpful it was for me to learn and memorize with music. Now it is easy to tie music into every subject area in a meaningful way with the books and songs from Cantata Learning. These are essential and bring life to learning in any classroom.  

Build a Classroom Community

Music is a very special way to build community within the classroom. As you incorporate music throughout the curriculum, students will enjoy what they are learning even more and will be excited to have a way to remember the facts and information through music. They will love to see how much you, as the teacher, love learning, listening, and singing along to music too. It sets a tone and celebrates a universal language we all love.

For example, I love sharing the Fairy Tale Tunes series from Cantata Learning with children because I have a passion for different versions of classic fairy tales. These titles, such as Little Red Riding Hood and Jack and the Beanstalk will bring happiness with their playful illustrations, fun songs, and meaningful stories.

Cantata Learning brings classrooms to life by empowering children through literacy and song. These three ways are just a start in making a difference and bringing your classroom to life with music!  


Higgins, Nadia. (2017). Little Seeds. Cantata Learning.

Peale, Jonathan. (2017). Jack and the Beanstalk. Cantata Learning.

Peale, Jonathan. (2017).  Little Red Riding Hood. Cantata Learning.

Ringgenberg, S. (2004). Singing as a teaching tool. Retrieved from https://oldweb.naeyc.org/ece/2004/01.asp

Wolpert-Gawron, H. (2014). 8 Ways to Use Music in the Language Arts Classroom. Retrieved from https://www.edutopia.org/blog/using-music-strategies-language-arts-classroom-heather-wolpert-gawron

Music Just Right for English Language Learners January 11, 2017

Last week, Matthew Lynch of the Edvocate published an article linking music instruction to higher student performance in English Language Learners.

Lynch interviewed Dr. Nancy Drescher, a professor at Minnesota State University in Mankato. Dr. Drescher’s work is characterized by her experience teaching children as well as ELLs.

Cantata Learning is proud to have partnered with Dr. Drescher, in an effort to be inclusive of multiple learning styles, and we especially loved these takeaways from her interview:

Connecting music, language, and books makes language easier to remember. The repetitive nature of songs helps set linguistic expectations. An especially catchy song will remain in students’ heads long after the lesson has ended, enabling them to hold on to the information in an enjoyable format.

• The repetitive nature of songs helps set linguistic expectations. An especially catchy song will remain in students’ heads long after the lesson has ended, enabling them to hold on to the information in an enjoyable format.

• If we can bring in multiple ways for students to engage with the language we hope they will be able to use and the content we want them to learn without drilling and killing their love of books and learning, I think we will find the most success for all kids.

Read the original article here!

Ready to Use Lesson Plans Involving Music January 11, 2017

By Shannon McClintock Miller

As the new year starts, kick it off by adding new energy and excitement to your classroom! One way to do this is through music. As Chris Boyd Brewer states in Music and Learning: Integrating Music in the Classroom, “Music will activate students mentally, physically, and emotionally and create learning states which enhance understanding of learning material.”

The stories, songs, and ready-to-use lesson plans from Cantata Learning will add just what you need to bring your classroom to life with music, while helping your students retain and recall information in a different way.  

How They Work

Let’s take a closer look at the lesson plans Cantata Learning has created to accompany the engaging stories, playful illustrations, and fun songs found in each book. The lesson plans tie into the core curricular areas including language arts, reading, math, science, and social studies, just as the books and songs covers all these areas in addition to social emotional, library and digital citizenship skills, STEAM, and more.  

From cross-curricular or project based learning units to collaborative projects between various subjects and related arts areas, the lesson plans bring everything together with clear objectives, easy to follow instructions, key vocabulary, a materials list, and even the free Cantata Learning song or songs needed for the lesson.

Even More Enrichment

We also know that music influences a creative, interactive, and energized classroom environment. Therefore, we want to take time to enrich each lesson plan by adding art, technology, physical education, cooking, and other extensions.  

For example, after learning about a new scientific concept in a Cantata Learning book, such as habitats, students might be asked to create a new creature that might thrive in a particular habitat.  From there, they may undertake art projects representing their creations or collaborate to create a digital presentation.

Get Your Resources

For specific ideas related to Cantata Learning’s new series Animal World, download your free lesson plan here: Animal World-Songs About Animal Adaptations.

And don’t forget, you can also stream or download each of the songs for free!
Animal Feet
Animal Heads
Animal Tails
Animal Wings

With the books, songs, and lesson plans enchanting learners from preschool to third grade and older, there so many ways to use Cantata Learning. As you can see, these books are the perfect way to fill your classroom with the sparks you need to make this year truly shine for your students. 

And finally, if you have a lesson using a Cantata Learning book and/or song that you’d like to share with the community, send it our way! We’d love to share it on our website. 


Brewer, C. B.. Integrating Music in the Classroom. Johns Hopkins University School of Education Music and Learning.  Retrieved from http://education.jhu.edu/PD/newhorizons/strategies/topics/Arts%20in%20Education/brewer.htm

Animal World: Songs About Animal Adaptations