Clapping in time may boost literacy in children learning to read

A study by researchers at Northwestern University suggests that rhythm training may boost literacy, because it engages sensory-motor systems that are important in the processes that people use when reading.

They used an Interactive Metronome (which requires a person to clap her or his hands in time with a steady beat) to investigate whether the links between literacy and synchronisation skills, previously established in older children, are also evident in children who are learning to read.

Synchronising movement to a steady beat relies on a bidirectional connection between sensory and motor systems, and activates many of the auditory and cognitive processes used when reading.

The researchers tested 64 five-seven-year-olds from the greater-Chicago area on their synchronisation abilities, neurophysiological responses to speech in noise, and literacy skills.

They found that children who have lower variability in synchronising have higher phase consistency, higher stability, and more accurate envelope encoding—all neurophysiological response components linked to language skills.

Moreover, performing the same task with visual feedback reveals links with literacy skills, notably processing speed, phonological processing, word reading, spelling, morphology, and syntax.

NB There have been a number of studies linking difficulties with rhythm and language, with dyslexia; and we have heard that there is research looking into the possibility of improving rhythm skills to improve some of the challenges of dyslexia – ie phonological and literacy skills – more on this to follow soon.

SOURCE:
Brainvolts – https://www.brainvolts.northwestern.edu/documents/Bonacina_et_al-2017-Annals_of_the_New_York_Academy_of_Sciences.pdf

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: COGNITIVE DEVELOPMENT & LITERACY
TARGET GROUP: CHILDREN
AGE: 5-7-YEARS-OLD
MUSIC TYPE: BEAT SYNCHRONISATION & RHYTHM
TYPE OF STUDY: ACADEMIC RESEARCH
NOs INVOLVED: 64
PERIOD OF STUDY: UNKNOWN
DATE: 2018
PLACE: USA

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