Yes, it’s true. As creators of music education programs and early literacy curriculum, we love both music and reading. Study after study continues to show how music can support a young child’s early literacy and language development. As Julie Andrews would sing, music and reading are like “raindrops and roses.” It’s no wonder that music and reading are two of our favorite things. After all, research shows music supports a child’s early literacy development in many ways, including music’s impact on phonological awareness, vocabulary learning, listening skills, and verbal memory.

Musical training supports early literacy development

One of the newest studies, “The effects of musical training on the decoding skills of German-speaking primary school children”, published in The Journal of Research in Reading, strengthens the understanding of how music supports early literacy development. Led by Iris Rautenberg, the team investigated the connections between musical skills (perception and differentiation of the rhythmical and tonal/melodic patterns) and decoding skills, and the effects of musical training on word-level reading abilities.

The researchers recruited 159 German first graders. One-third of the children received musical training for nine months. One-third of the children received visual arts training and the remaining group did not participate in any special training. The music training specifically focused on rhythmic skills, tonal/melodic skills, and auditory discrimination of timbre and sound intensity. Rautenberg’s study found two ways that musical training supports early literacy development.

2 ways musical training boosts early literacy development

  1. Rhythmical abilities showed a strong positive correlation with decoding skills, both in reading accuracy and reading prosody.
  2. Children participating in the music classes performed significantly better on reading accuracy in word reading when compared with the other two groups.

Early literacy curriculum uses music as vehicle for learning

ABC Music & Me uses music and movement to teach young children early literacy and early language development. During class, children receive music instruction including active music making and kinesthetic movements to emphasize steady beat, rhythm and pitch, as well as the association of sounds with developmentally appropriate symbols.

For more information about using ABC Music & Me to teach early language and early literacy, email us at info@abcmusicandme.com.

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