Integration of music and reading may help parents prepare their children for school. On the surface, music and literacy seem opposite of each other both in meaning and delivery. However, the two forms of learning go hand in hand. For example, lyrics and literacy are similar because lyrics are the words sung in a song. Often, they are poetic and can be understood as poetry that sometimes tells a story.
Many singer songwriters are also storytellers, weaving intricate and powerful stories into their songs. If one examines a music soundtrack and a story line/plot, one can see how music is used to help tell the story as much as the narrative itself. As technology advances, music is becoming readily interweaved with reading comprehension. One study examined the use of multimodal e-books that combined text with animation, images, and sounds. Children made academic gains in reading from using multimodal e-books (Morgan, 2013).
Music does not have to be the only way children can learn reading comprehension. Sound serves as the basis for music and can help children improve their reading comprehension through audio-assisted reading. "...the audio-assisted reading group's improvement in reading rates and comprehension levels was substantially higher than for the silent reading group" (Chang & Millett, 2015, p. 91). By using sound along with reading, it may help children understand the linguistics aspect of reading and therefore improve memory and reading comprehension. Moreover, it may help children improve their listening comprehension, a potentially untapped fountain of information researchers has yet to examine in depth.
Listening comprehension is "among the least understood and least researched of language skills. For many years, listening has been neglected as part of language arts curricula" (Podhajski, 2016, p. 43). Having been disregarded compared to reading, writing, and speaking, listening has seen a resurgence an interest in recent years. Instructors wishing to provide listening comprehension curriculum to students have turned to frameworks that incorporate understanding pitch, volume, and tone. This means inclusion of music in order to provide improved listening comprehension to students. Listening comprehension may be a reason why music and reading can work hand in hand to promote reading comprehension in students.
Because language is such a complex and multi-faceted area of learning, music can help deliver a better means of educating a young child. "Language includes phonology, the sound system; morphology, meaningful word parts; semantics, word meanings and relationships; grammar and syntax, the rules governing our use of spoken and written language; discourse, connected language as in stories or conversation; and, pragmatics" (Podhajski, 2016, p. 43). Human language relies on constituent structure as its central feature. "Analogous to how syntax organizes words in sentences, a narrative grammar organizes sequential images into hierarchic constituents" (Cohn, Jackendoff, Holcomb, & Kuperberg, 2014, p. 63). By providing children with a framework that allows learning from a multi-faceted perspective, it has the potential of promoting effective learning practices. Such practices can then be taken into school, where these children can harness what they learn and succeed academically.
This paper aims to understand the effects of integration of music and reading and help answer the question: Does integration of music and reading before entering school make a difference in a child's ability to read versus children who do not receive a combination of integrative music and reading from their parents before entering school? By analyzing previous similar experiments and conducting an experiment, this paper aims to provide evidence supporting or refuting the notion that integration of music and reading can improve a child's reading comprehension.
The experiment will include six children aged 5-7. They will have access to various tools and programs that incorporate music and reading. They will be monitored for a period of 2 weeks. Their progress will be one month after school commences. One group will receive integrative curriculum while the other will receive non-integrative, traditional curriculum. Results will be assessed before entering school and one month after entering school.
The literature review will cover the various similar studies performed and will act as a guide for the formation of the experiment. Several hypotheses will be formulated to provide a framework from which to continue with the experiment. The hypothetical results will allow for a simulated outcome that will help future experiments understand how...
The eight studies are from recent years and incorporate various methods of learning from online reading strategies to utilization of internet resources and e-readers. Each study is experimental in nature and an understanding of reading comprehension from a varied perspective. Music and reading will be examined not just from one aspect, but from several, including use of sound and speech.
The internet provides a plethora of resources that instructors or parents can use to teach children to read. One 2013 study aimed to design and develop a "web-based reading strategy training program and investigated students' use of its features and EFL teachers' and students' perceptions of the program" (Huang, 2013, p. 340). The program provided students with "four types of reading strategy functions (Global, Problem-solving, Support, and Socio-affective) through 15 strategy buttons: Keyword, Preview, Prediction, Outline, Summary, Semantic Mapping, Pronunciation, Speed Reading, Dictionary, Translation, Grammar, Highlight, Notebook, Music Box, and My Questions" (Huang, 2013, p. 340). This kind of program aimed to allow children the ability to read not just from a traditional perspective, but from a modern perspective, including sounds and speech in the types of reading strategy functions. The study's results stated students felt more engaged with the learning material offered and felt a higher motivation to learn. Thus, proving students need a varied learning environment to learn effectively.
Another study focused on the advancements of technology and the inclusion of electronic reading systems (Wright, Fugett, & Caputa, 2013). Digital text has led to creation of reading material that incorporates sounds, music, and speech into reading. The researchers compared reading comprehension scores and vocabulary comprehension from paper-based book reading to electronic story book reading. They used an AB experimental design with three females aged 7-8 years, enrolled in second grade, as participants.
The results of the study pointed towards no significant improvement from reading digital text or paper-based text. However, they did note the higher level of engagement and motivation with the digital text option. This is because of the convenience and accessibility the participants had to the reading materials. In addition, there was an added option to look at online materials connected to the digital books. This study suggests the need to incorporate more online resources and reading tools to promote higher levels of motivation and engagement.
Music Education and Language
Musical training or music education has been linked in the past with phonological awareness and as a learning aid for children who have trouble reading. A 2013 study noted the small quantity of studies that provided support suggesting music training can improve reading in children. However, they sought to answer whether musical training can help children that have not begun formal reading instruction. They explored two dimensions of their question by examining links among kindergarten aged children's phonological awareness and music rhythm skills. In addition, if there were improvements from those that received intensive musical training versus those that did not.
The results suggested "rhythm skill was related to phonological segmentation skill at the beginning of kindergarten, and that children who received more music training during kindergarten showed improvement in a wider range of phonological awareness skills at the end of kindergarten" (Moritz, Yampolsky, Papadelis, Thomson, & Wolf, 2012, p. 739). The study's results support the idea that music and reading can be used together to improve reading comprehension in children through improving certain aspects of reading like in this case, phonological awareness. Studies like this help bridge the gap between music and reading integration. Furthermore, they help produce a connection between reading and music instruction.
Music education can help students with disabilities read as well. Another study examining music education and how it can improve reading skills in dyslexic children. Specifically, how musical training may remediate timing problems, increase spatial awareness, or augment pitch perception (Cogo-Moreira, Andriolo, Yazigi, Brandao de Avila, & Mari, 2012). This can then lead to improvements in fluency, and literacy. Although the researchers searched for evidence from randomized controlled trials to see if musical training had a positive impact on the reading ability of students with dyslexia. They could not find any evidence suggesting the possibility. The article brings to attention a gap in research showing there lacks enough information to understand any possible connections with musical training and literacy improvement in children with learning disabilities.
Not many studies focus on the benefits of musical training on reading. One study examined such benefits musical training has on language skills through discussion of five subskills that underlie reading acquisition. They are: "phonological awareness, speech-in-noise perception, rhythm perception, auditory working memory, and the ability to learn sound…
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