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Music the Tutor: Part 2 – Language & Literacy


MUSIC THE TUTOR: Language and Literacy – Part 2 of 4


Part 1 of our back to school series talked about how music can help children learn math and science. This post, Music the Tutor:  Language & Literacy, continues with how music helps young children achieve excellence in language and literacy.

Children build connections between the sounds they hear and the words they sing. Research evidences that a “strong and reliable association” between music instruction and reading comprehension (Butzlaff, 2000).

Phoneme segmentation is an ability to break words down into individual sounds. This skill is essential to literacy. A study revealed that children who received four months of musical activities showed greater developmental gains in phoneme segmentation than a group of children who did not receive musical intervention (Gromko, 2005).

Literacy and reading comprehension is embedded in the sounds of music. Children learn alphabet recognition phonetic patterns, and word segmentation (Standley, 2008) through musical activities.


Music is a creative dimension to help children learn without learning being taught as a drill (Standley, 2008). For instance, singing and performing music can expose children to new vocabulary through rhyme and repetition.

Or, writing a song helps express a problem. The sounds of music and music-making helps develop cognitive processes associated with the spoken word (Gromko, 2005).


Also, music helps children understand concepts such as high/low, stop/start, and fast/slow. For example, music is read left to right, which relates to reading a book, left to right. Children who have a greater understanding of what they are reading will find it more enjoyable.

Children enjoy listening and performing music, and consider it a reward when in the classroom (Standley, 2008). Music attracts and retains children’s attention, making literacy fun. Music liberates children’s literacy potential (Gromko, 2005).

Designing music activities embedded with reading skills help young children reading and language comprehension (Standley, 2008).

AMT’s Music Therapist’s Melissa Telford & Bill Murray are trained to prepare activities that pair learning and abilities. Your therapist can adapt programs and curriculums to meet individual learning styles. We invite you to meet with either Melissa or Bill to see how we can support and improve your child’s literacy.

AMT’s Speak and Sing classes, co-lead with Speech and Language Pathologist Michelle Bodo of Little Talkers (www.littletalkers.ca), are held on Tuesdays and Saturdays at 10am. Speak & Sing groups have a few registration spots available, and can help children build speech skills and confidence to communicate.


Stay tuned for next weeks post, Part 3 (Sports and Athletics) of our four-part back to school series!

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