Move to read: entrainment activities and pre-reading skills of kindergarteners
Carson-Swift, Kimberly Jené
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The purpose of this study was to explore the possibility that music and movement instruction could cause improvement in language arts skills, due to evidence that music and language share processing mechanisms related to auditory perception as described by Patel (2007, 2011a, 2011b, 2014) in the shared syntactic integration resource hypothesis (SSIRH) and OPERA hypothesis. Sixty-two Kindergarten students from a suburban school, near a city in the Midwest, were selected via random assignment to be a part of an experimental or control group. Each group participated in pre- and posttests measuring entrainment and pre-reading skills. ANCOVA results of pre and posttest data revealed no significant difference between the groups. The music and movement instruction did not improve entrainment so results were inconclusive in regard to the impact of entrainment on phonological processing and rapid naming. Future studies might consider a pretest/posttest design with a group that focuses on entrainment without specific music language (Patel, 2008) and a group that conducted music class with the usual songs and descriptive language, to provide evidence regarding whether or not language needs to be combined with music to cause a cognitive transfer of skills. A further comparison of a group that learned to play singing games with a group that learned instrumental music might provide further evidence regarding the role that the combination of music and language might have on reading. Another line of inquiry might involve increasing the length of the intervention period to determine if a year is needed to cause cognitive transfer and ensure that the control group does not receive any music instruction. An additional consideration may be that improvement in entrainment provides a foundation for language processing that does not fully develop or present itself until children reach more challenging levels of reading fluency. Studies that measure student improvement over time would be one way to find evidence that music provides a neurological basis for reading, and language development. Further study possibilities are described in the conclusions of the dissertation.
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