reading

Good music teaching can support children’s literacy

Empowering teachers with the skills to use music in the classroom can boost not only music skills in children, but also helps to improve aspects of literacy, particularly reading.

Children taking part in the New London Orchestra’s (NLO) Literacy through Music project significantly improved their reading abilities compared to those in control groups.

There was an average reading age improvement across the seven NLO programme classes of 8.4 months (from a minimum 4.8 months to a maximum of 13.2 months). This compares with an average reading age improvement in the two control classes of 1.8 months. The NLO programme children also made a significant improvement in their singing ability and sustained their perceived sense of being socially included. The NLO impacts were equally beneficial for children of both sexes.

Sessions involved the teaching of music and literacy activities and took place in 30 primary schools in the London Borough of Newham, involving around 650 teachers, during 2011.

A central part of the scheme was focused on improving primary school teachers’ confidence and skills in using music in the classroom, and providing them with methods and activities that they could use to support literacy development. By the end of the programme, two-thirds of teachers had used music-based activities to support other aspects of learning, including literacy, and said they would now them use them on a daily basis.

SOURCES:

A Research Evaluation of the New London Orchestra “Literacy through Music” Programme, Teacher Inset provision by Jo Saunders, Graham Welch and Evangelos Himonides

Download the report from http://www.imerc.org iMerc, the International Music Education Research Centre: http://www.imerc.org/papers/nlo/nlo_final_report_lite.pdf

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: Language development
TARGET GROUP: Young people
AGE: 6-7 years
MUSIC TYPE: General
TYPE OF STUDY: Academic research
NOs INVOLVED: 268 (207 participants, 61 in control groups)
PERIOD OF STUDY: 20 weeks
DATE: 2011
PLACE: United Kingdom

Music helps kids avoid losing learning skills during holidays

Research has shown that the long break from school over the summer holidays can result in some children forgetting the academic skills learned over the school year. Studies by Florida International University confirm that children can lose about 2.6 months of their maths skills over the summer, and some groups of children lose two months of reading skills.

An article posted on the Chicago Tribune website suggests that music can help, and quotes a range of practitioners and experts.

SOURCE:

Chicago Tribune: http://www.chicagotribune.com/suburbs/des-plaines/community/chi-ugc-article-music-helps-kids-avoid-the-academic-summer-sl-2014-06-05-story.html

How playing an instrument benefits your brain

When you listen to music, multiple areas of your brain become engaged and active. But when you actually play an instrument, that activity becomes more like a full-body brain workout. What’s going on? Anita Collins of the University of Canberra explains the fireworks that go off in musicians’ brains when they play, and examines some of the long-term positive effects of this mental workout.

Research has shown that learning a musical instrument involves the motor, visual and auditory cortices all at the same time and can enhance reading skills, memory systems, executive function and general cognitive function. Recent research has found the ability for a child to keep a steady beat is an indication that, neurologically, they are ready to begin reading.

Adolescents involved with music do better in school

SOURCE:

Adolescents involved with music do better in school according to research by The Ohio State University. The study reveals that taking part in music lessons in or out of school, and parents attending concerts with their children, has a positive effect on reading and mathematic achievement in early childhood and adolescence – and that participation is affected by socioeconomic status and ethnicity.

SOURCE:

Science Daily: http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/02/090210110043.htm

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: Academic achievement
TARGET GROUP: Young people
AGE: 5-16 years
MUSIC TYPE: General
TYPE OF STUDY: Academic research
NOs INVOLVED: Unknown
PERIOD OF STUDY: Unknown
DATE: 2009
PLACE: United States

Musical training enhances children’s verbal intelligence

BENEFIT: Verbal intelligence
TARGET GROUP: Young people
AGE: 4-6 years
MUSIC TYPE: Structured musical training
TYPE OF STUDY: Academic research
NOs INVOLVED: 48
PERIOD OF STUDY: 1 month
DATE: 2011
PLACE: Canada

SUMMARY:

Canadian researchers from York University reported that the verbal intelligence of 4- to 6-year-olds rises after only one month of musical training. The study suggests that early music education stimulates a child’s brain, leading to improved performance in an entirely different arena – verbal intelligence. This finding echoes the results of a 2009 study of second-graders (http://www.psmag.com/blogs/news-blog/music-education-improves-literacy-of-second-graders-3877/), which found the reading skills of those who received structured musical training were superior to those of their peers. Such research suggests cutting music education to concentrate on “the basics” is based on a misunderstanding of the way young minds work.

SOURCES:

Pacific-Standard:
http://www.psmag.com/education/music-training-enhances-childrens-verbal-intelligence-36701/

Psychological Science:
http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2011/10/03/0956797611416999.abstract

Cambridge University Centre for Music & Science:
http://cms.mus.cam.ac.uk/

Musical children likely to be better with words too

SUMMARY:

A study by Northwestern University, led by Dr Nina Kraus, found that musical ability is biologically linked to literacy. Children – aged between 8 and 13 – who performed well in reading tests were also good at discerning rhythm and tone, and they also did better than average in tests of verbal memory. Music skill accounted for 38 per cent of the variation in reading ability between children, and the study showed that literacy and musical aptitude shared a common origin in the brain. Dr Kraus said: “These results add weight to the argument that music and reading are related via common neural and cognitive mechanisms and suggests a mechanism for the improvements in literacy seen with musical training.”

SOURCE:

The Scotsman: http://www.scotsman.com/news/education/musical_children_likely_to_be_better_with_words_too_researchers_find_1_1914136

DETAILS:

BENEFIT: Literacy
TARGET GROUP: Young people
AGE: 8-13 years
MUSIC TYPE: General
TYPE OF STUDY: Academic research
NOs INVOLVED: 42
PERIOD OF STUDY: Unknown
DATE: 2011
PLACE: United States