How Music Can Help Young Children With Reading

How Music Can Help Young Children With Reading

It was explained that it will be easier for the child to learn to read if they learn music. / Photo by: Getty Images


Music has been used as a way for people to communicate with one another. It can help them tell stories, retain information, and even share thoughts and feelings that spoken words fail to do. Music is also a great educational tool that can enhance one's skills such as reading and writing.

Reading is one of the most important abilities that people need to learn, and neuroscience found that there is a distinct connection between music and language acquisition. To put it simply, learning to read can become much easier if a child learns music during their early years of schooling.

Music Processing and Language Development

The Conversation stated that music processing and the development of language share a converging network in the brain. Seeing this through an evolutionary lens, the brains of humans developed the processing of music even before language—and that process was used to create and understand language. 

Infants are able to understand language as it was music; responding to language's rhythm and melody even before they can comprehend what the words mean. Babies, as well as young children, imitate the language that they hear through the elements of rhythm and melody. This explains why they are drawn to the sing-song style of speech.

Improving Reading Skills With Music

Children struggle in learning how to pronounce words correctly since adults often speak in a quick manner when talking with one another. This is why kids are bound to mispronounce words; instead of saying "library," they say it as "library."

Music can help resolve this issue since it can be used to teach children to separate words into units, according to psychology research website, Hey Sigmund. Some songs have words that are drawn out for the purpose of making it sound appealing and appropriate for the tune and melody. Through these songs, children will be able to hear the units of such words much more clearly.

Moreover, music can also give kids the chance to practice speaking much faster. Listening and singing along to rap songs can help in diminishing stuttering as well as teach children to speak difficult words faster.

Children are anxious when they have to read out loud, afraid that they might make a mistake. Music can be a way to encourage the child to practice their reading comprehension. Everyone loves a good tune, especially children. Using music to incorporate reading exercises can make it feel less dull and much more interesting.


One of the benefits of music is that it makes a child practice speaking faster without stuttering. / Photo by: Sutthinon Sanyakup via 123rf


Children Who Learn Music Are Better Readers

To be able to read, children should first learn how to speak. As stated, kids can learn how to speak properly by means of music. Reading is basically understanding what the written words mean. There is a number of abilities that are integrated to help in making such understanding happen—including the ability to discern between the sounds in words and fluency of reading.

According to the World Economic Forum, fluency includes the skills to adapt the stress patterns and intonations of a phrase (happy to angry), as well as the ability to determine the appropriate articulation (if it's a question or an exclamation). Such well-developed auditory processing skills can be improved through musical training.

A study by the University of California found that children who are musically trained are found to have better reading comprehension skills.

Furthermore, music can provide indications if a child is having difficulties with reading. A 2014 study found that children aged three and four years old who are able to maintain a steady musical beat are more prepared with reading by the age of five compared to those who are unable to keep a beat.

How Parents Can Help

Children start to learn a language the moment they are born as they hear their parents talk and coo at them. Singing to a baby not only develops a bond with them, but it also stimulates their auditory processing network.

Parents can opt to take their young ones to a high-quality music class. This can help in developing the child's music skills, which are found to be an effective way of learning how to read. Classes that have movement activities, singing and responding to sound and silence, as well as those that have a good quality musical toys and instruments, are also important. 

Music programs can help in developing skills sequentially. Such programs should motivate a child to sing in tune, use musical instruments, and move in both improvised and structured ways to music.

When learning music, children should also be taught how to read and understand musical notations and symbols. Comprehending these elements can reinforce the connection between the symbol to sound, a key element in reading words.

Actually and actively learning music is important. Putting on nursery songs can only do so much in a child's language development. In fact, it may even hinder their ability to discern speech from other noise. But this does not mean there should be complete silence for effective learning, rather they need to have different sound environments.

Such a variety can help in the improvement of their brain's ability to choose in regards to auditory stimulation. This may explain why there are students who are able to focus while listening to music, while there are those who need silence. Their preference is influenced by the kind of learning that they are being challenged to do.