Literal Lyric Video

Literal Lyric Video

Everyone has heard of Literal videos, but this week’s post will look at literal lyric videos as a way of developing English Language skills.
Click the video to view an example video made by my class. 
The concept is very simple. You select a song (preferably related to the current topic the students are studying) and print a copy of the lyrics. You allow the students to listen or read a copy of the lyrics and they decide what they think the song is about. While you can do this a number of ways, I have had great success doing the following: 1. Make a few copies of the first verse. I choose “She is Leaving Home” by The Beatles. I decided to start with a running dictation to introduce the song and practice their listening and speaking skills.
First verse running dictation
2. Pre-teach key vocabulary. For this song I taught the following:
clutching, handkerchief, sacrificed, snores, denied, dressing gown
3. Tell the students they are going to listen to the song. They have to decide what they think the song is about and why. They must write down any reasons for their answer. Students listen to the song once and have a discussion.
Some questions: Who is she? Where is she going? Why is she leaving? 
4. Before class, cut up the song into the number of students you have. Give each student a lyric and a blank piece of paper. Tell the students they must read the lyric and draw a picture to represent what they have read. Give them a time limit 5 minutes is usually long enough, depending on how long the lyric is. Ask them to color the picture and when they are finished, to write the lyrics on the back of the drawing.
5. After class, scan or photograph the pictures and using a video editor such as iMovie on the Mac or Microsoft Movie Maker and add the pictures and the music. These programs are very easy to use and the video can be put together quickly.
6. In the next class, the students watch the video. Check that they remember the key words taught in the previous class. You can give them a gap fill to complete if you wish.
This is a great way to get the class to create something in the limited class time that you have. It’s also a fantastic way for the class to achieve something together as a group, which promotes a positive classroom atmosphere whilst developing their language, reading and interpretational skills. Found this post useful? Find more posts on Music in the ESL classroom here
Click here for a copy of “She’s leaving home” Lyrics Don’t forget to leave your comments or videos below. 


  1. Brilliant, a lovely idea! It is also something we could do with the course book songs or any other song the students have been learning in class. I have been doing “Miss Polly had a Dolly” with a class of 6 year olds and they drew pictures last lesson. I am going to try making a video of their pictures like you have in this project.

    Thanks for the idea – it really does have a lot of possibilities depending on age and level.

  2. Hi Michelle,

    Thanks so much for the feedback. I’m glad you like it. Make sure you let me know how it goes. It is a really nice way to customize the book.

    Thanks again,


  3. Aldana Spinozzi

    THANKS for such a wonderful idea!!! I will definitely use it ♥

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