Using Music to Develop Literacy


The idea of music and learning working together has been something of much research for a long time. Scientists and researchers have hypothesized and tested the possibility that music stimulates the mind and encourages easier learning. One question in particular is whether or not music can play any role in the development of literacy. Is there is a correlation between the two? Does reading only increase a listener’s understanding of music or does music only increase literacy, or does it go both ways? Conclusive studies have shown that music definitely assists children in understanding reading by bettering oral language and increasing difficulty of reading.

Young readers may find music to be helpful in the process of bettering oral language. Often children can very confidently sing a song, but may reluctantly string together complete statements or sentences. By encouraging the use of song and lyrics to increase literacy, developing readers will be exposed to words and phrases through something they commit to memory. Children will be able to increase their vocabulary and understanding without even realizing they are learning, sometimes the best way to teach a child. Making something fun for a child makes learning all the better. For example, almost every child learns the alphabet with the alphabet song. A melodic tune set to the ABC’s Song allows children to better remember the alphabet, providing them with the building blocks for literacy.

In addition to all around bettering the oral language of developing readers, music also allows children to easily increase the level of difficulty in their reading. As children get older and better equipped with literacy, you will notice age appropriate music will also grow more increasingly complex. Readers and music listeners will be presented with more complex lyrics, which require a greater literacy in order to comprehend. An increase in reading level and complexity in music lyrics goes hand and hand with the progression of increased literacy. For example, Twinkle Twinkle Little Star has much simpler lyrics than that of the United States’ National Anthem. A young reader could tackle the lyrics to Twinkle Twinkle Little start when at a beginner’s reading level, and more on to something more complex like the National Anthem when his or her literacy skills have increased.

Music can be an amazing tool to help children and young readers strengthen their literacy skills. Sometimes the easiest way to learn is to do so in a fun way. Learning to read music and lyrics is one fun option to increase literacy. Researchers and scientists have proven the usefulness of music in the learning process, and it can only aid and assist in becoming a stronger reader.

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