TAMIU Professor Combines Music and Language Skills in New Book in 2004

TAMIU Professor Combines Music and Language Skills in New Book

Texas A&M International University's Dr. Gilberto D. Soto, chair of the Department of Fine and Performing Arts and associate professor of music, has created a musical way for elementary students to improve their English. (photo)

Dr. Soto and Marilyn C. Davidson, a renowned music educator, created Multilevel Strategies for English Language Learners which outlines a method of teaching English language skills through the study of music.

Dr. Soto explained the idea was to combine culture and language in an exciting way.

"This book will assist teachers in using comprehensible language for instruction so all students can participate in the classroom learning experience," said Soto, "One of the most popular ways to help children acquire language skills is to integrate learning and multicultural context. Since music and culture have a direct connection, this book offers a tremendous opportunity to bolster children's language skills."

Soto said the book grew out of his research as a cohort member of the Regents Initiative, a program designed and funded by The Texas A&M University System, to impact the quality and productivity of educator preparation programs.

"My research, as part of the Regents Initiative, lead me to start arranging bilingual songs. After learning from the 2000 U.S. Census that nearly one in five American children enter school knowing a language other than English, I focused on a way to help those children and improve the quality of education nationwide," said Soto.

He said the book is intended for children in grades kindergarten through sixth in school districts across the country, and that interest in this method is intense.

"The importance of bilingual music education has made school districts welcome this kind of literature. Because of this book and my previous publications, I am constantly invited to lecture or present papers on this subject. In the next few weeks I will be a guest speaker for the Osseo school district in Minnesota and for the Association for Bilingual Education Annual Conference in El Paso, Texas," said Soto.

Soto said he was grateful for the support of the A&M System's Board of Regents, and the TAMIU administration for providing him with the opportunity to make an impact on national education.

For more information, please contact Dr. Soto at 326.2654, visit offices in the Center for the Fine and Performing Arts, room 217C, or e-mail gsoto@tamiu.edu.

University office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

Journalists who need additional information or help with media requests and interviews should contact the Office of Public Affairs and Information Services at pais@tamiu.edu