For Christmas, my mom bought me this great little book: Lacey Walker, Non-Stop Talker. It's very cute! The book also addresses the whisper, shouting, singing, and of course, speaking ( well, talking) voices - great for Kinders.
The puppet, named Amanda, is a great tool to use for young singers in solo singing situations. Usually, I'll have a puppet sing a question, and a student sing an answer (using pitches So and Mi). It's a great, non-threatening way to assess your students. Many students can synthesize a correct response while singing, but sometimes these modifications help:
* If a student doesn't use a singing voice, I have the puppet ask them to repeat their answer, saying, "Can you tell me again in your singing voice?" We all need a 2nd chance sometimes.
* If a student still doesn't use their singing voice, I select a few others to try, and compliment them on their singing voices. I'll often say, "Doesn't she have a nice signing voice?" Sometimes, I'll even ask good singers to repeat their answer. Afterwards, I can call on a student who struggles to song and, after hearing peers accomplish this comfortably, they are more successful.
* Sometimes, a student struggles with coming up with a response. I like to brainstorm out loud together, before choosing soloists. For example, if we are answering the question, "What's your favorite candy?" - we'll list many favorite candies so students have a reference. If your students are bilingual, brainstorm responses in their native language. You may also need to ask the question in their language as well.
* Record your students. Let them listen to how their voices sound. Often, reluctant or shy singers will offer to participate if you use this easy incentive.