While many children struggle with reading skills, there are lots of kids who enjoy and more easily become adept at learning and appreciating music. But did you know that both listening to and playing music can help your child improve their literacy skills?
Let’s discover how this can help your child and how to get started.
The “Mozart Effect”
Have you ever heard of the Mozart effect? A study showed that participants who listened to Mozart during their free time, as opposed to other relaxing activities, had better IQ scores on spatial intelligence. While that’s not necessarily a skill used in literacy, Dr. Nina Kraus, a noted neurobiologist who runs Northwestern University’s Auditory Neuroscience Laboratory, stated that “reading and music both involve mapping sounds to meaning.” In fact, the evidence is growing that music can actually help improve a child’s reading skills.
How Else Music Can Help
Most parents intuitively know that music can help a child learn. But now, science is beginning to show the benefits of music on cognitive ability and development. According to the Association for Psychological Research another recent study, conducted by Dr. Sylvain Moreno, gave a group of students a four-week learning program with music-based cognitive training cartoons. A whopping 90 percent of children who used program saw cognitive improvements in their vocabulary.
Psychology Today writes that scientists have known about the link between music and reading abilities since 2011. Since then, music has also been shown to improve communications skills and executive function. Research also shows that learning a musical instrument can help reduce a child’s anxiety, which gives them better control of their emotions and can contribute improved focus and attention.
How can your child take advantage of the benefits of music? He can either learn an instrument or you can create time for him to learn music appreciation.
Learning an Instrument
For a child with interest, learning a musical instrument can be fun. It also has even more brain-boosting benefits, especially for children with a mental or intellectual disability or condition. As mentioned, music can improve cognitive deficits but, according to Connolly Music, it can also help children with ADHD, speech and language impairments, learning disabilities, and behavioral challenges. Easing those challenges will help your child across all his academics.
Luther College writes that learning the language of music — that is, learning to read music — can help improve literacy skills. It can also help with something called “phoneme awareness.” This helps children learn how sounds come together to form words. Read five more ways that music improves literacy skills in their article. While this is a great option, it’s not for every child. In that case, you can support your child by helping him appreciate music.
Supporting Your Child With Music Appreciation
Hopefully, your school still requires music as a part of your child’s education, but if not, you can offer your child options to learn more about music.
- Even if they don’t learn a musical instrument, kids can still learn to read music by following along when singing. Buy sheet music for songs they like, be they children’s songs (such as “Wheels on the Bus”), popular music, songs you sing at your faith group, etc.
- Watch and listen to musicals with your kids. You can do research on the history of the show you’re viewing. Today, there’s a musical in nearly every genre – you can teach your kids about rock opera if you choose!
- Start listening to classical music. As mentioned, Mozart is a great choice. Here is a tutorial on the basics of music appreciation.
- Use music as a way to help your child focus while studying. Invest in a good quality pair of headphones to assist him, and check out this list of best headphones for under $100.
Music can help your child build literacy skills, as well as other cognitive abilities. Help them to appreciate or learn it today.
Charles created HealingSounds.info. He believes in the power of music and sound as a healing tool. He is based in San Antonio, Texas.