As a language learning tool, singing is an effective way for learners to become more familiar with the natural rhythm of spoken (sung) English. On top of that, there's something about singing that just makes you feel good. Here's a list of songs to try in junior high.

Please Help!
We need more songs.
Please share any songs that've worked for you! - Comment below.

What makes a great English class song?

Most important for a song to be a good fit for singing in your English class is it's sing-ability. This means:

  • simple lyrics (repitition is helpful for students)
  • appropriate content (avoid swearwords, explicit topics, etc)
  • easy rhythm, uncomplicated melody, not too long, not too fast
  • no extended guitar riffs, etc (don't make everyone wait)

Tips for using songs

Listen first - before you start singing, just listen. You can make this a word-fill activity or similar, or you can just let the students read the lyrics along with the song (which brings us to the next point).

Lyrics sheet - provide students with a sheet of the lyrics. Without it, singing along will be tough.

Read through - to help students with their first time singing, read through the lyrics together. Yes... Repeat after me. But it helps students with words they may not know how to read or pronounce.

Repeat - one song should last several classes (assuming you sing it once or twice per class). This lets students get used to the song and from there they can relax and just enjoy singing it.

Review/critique - music is something it's very easy to have an opinion of and as your students go up through the grades, their ability to put their thought to (English) words will be growing. This optional extension of song-time can be a structured, writing activity, or a more relaxed, conversational discussion of the song.

Get suggestions - as the time with one song comes to an end, you can ask for suggestions on the next song students want to sing. When you get a popular song from a student's suggestion, motivation skyrockets.

Songs to Sing in Junior High English Class

(Please note: the formatting in the Google preview of the lyrics handouts is a little muddled. The Word file is good though!)


Song: Call Me Maybe
By: Carly Rae Jepsen
Lyrics: Download printout


Song: Friday I'm in Love
By: The Cure
Lyrics: Download printout
Song: Paint it Black
By: The Rolling Stones
Lyrics: Download printout


Song: Brown Eyed Girl
By: Van Morrison
Lyrics: Download printout

Be careful with which version of this song you use. The radio version is the best, with a "cleaned up" line towards the end of the song. In the original, it's "Making love in the green grass". In the radio version, it's "Laughing and a running hey, hey".

Song: Yellow Submarine
By: The Beatles
Lyrics: Download printout
Song: These Boots Are Made For Walkin'
By: Nancy Sinatra
Lyrics: Download printout

Didn't make the cut

Here are some great songs that, unfortunately, we can't quite recommend for the junior high English class, with an explanation why.

Song: Seven Nation Army
By: The White Stripes
Reason: Long periods without singing
Song: Sugar
By: Maroon 5
Reason: Mild profanity, very fast lyrics
Liked it? Please share!
# Great resource 2018-09-02 06:59
Thanks for sharing these great songs. Tried Friday I'm in Love and it went really well. Teacher really liked it too.
# 2018-09-03 01:24
Glad to be of assistance!

If you find any other songs that work well, be sure to let us know and we'll add them to the list.
# Candice 2018-09-04 09:23
You never can tell (from Pulp Fiction)
# Everly 2018-09-11 09:27
Shake it off - Taylor Swift
# Ted 2018-09-26 07:00
Hey There Delilah by The Plain White Tees
# Peter 2020-12-10 00:38
I've done Hello, Goodbye - The Beatles with Grade 6 ES, but I think its good for JHS as well as the simple lyrics can pace is good for struggling learners but fun enough for advanced students
# 2020-12-10 03:12
That's a great song. It's actually in the Sunshine textbook, so I didn't include it but you're right, it should be in the list. Thanks for the comment!
# Mary 2021-04-14 01:43
Take Me Home, Country Roads - (We did the Olivia Newton John ver.)
Sing- The Carpenters
Stroll (Sanpo in English from Totoro)
Paprika (English ver.)
Try Everything- Shakira (there's a fun lyric vid on YouTube)
We are the World - U.S.A for America (I think it's in the textbook)
Here Comes the Sun- The Beatles
One Thing- One Direction (still a bop)
Stand by Me - Ben E. King
Crazier- Taylor Swift
I just called to say I love you - Stevie Wonder
Don't Look Back in Anger - Oasis
Totoro (Eng ver.)
Heal the World - Michael Jackson (also fade out)

Christmas Songs: Happy Christmas - John Lennon; Last Christmas- WHAM

Other songs that were okay:
What a wonderful world- Louis Armstrong
You've got a friend- Carole King
If We Hold on Together- Diana Ross
I have a dream- ABBA
Carrying You- (Eng ver. of song from Castle in the Sky)
Top of the World- The Carpenters
Don't Wanna Miss a Thing - Aerosmith (Some kids know it from that Armageddon movie. We fade it out towards the end.)

Hope some of these are useful. Our students really liked singing but it was hard to find current songs that were appropriate.
# 2022-07-23 03:33
You gotta count your money

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