Center for
Lifelong Music Making
Research Studies


  • Music and language overlap in the brain, sometimes utilizing the same neural networks.
  • Music-making enhances auditory processing, correlated with higher reading achievement.
  • Ability to keep a steady beat is highly correlated with reading achievement.
  • Dyslexia includes a rhythmic processing problem in the brain that can be greatly helped with steady beat activities.
  • Music-making is correlated with increased reading abilities.
  • Pitch awareness is correlated with phonemic awareness and reading achievement.
  • Prosody (melody of language) is correlated with reading comprehension.
  • Repeated reading improves comprehension.
  • Eyes automatically track same-language subtitles in music videos, causing inescapable reading behavior.
  • Singing songs with same-language-subtitled music videos (words light up as they are sung) dramatically increases literacy.


Bonacina, S., Krizman, J., White-Schwock, T., Kraus, K (2018). Clapping in time parallels literacy
and calls upon overlapping neural mechanisms in early readers. Annals of the New York Academy
of Sciences Special Issue: The Neurosciences and Music VI,

Carr, K.W., Tierney, A., White-Schwock, T., Kraus. N. (2016). Intertrial auditory neural stability
supports beat synchronization in preschoolers. Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience. Fe., 17,

Colling, L., Noble, H., Goswami, U. (2017). Neural entrainment and sensorimotor synchronization
to the beat in children with developmental dyslexia: An eeg study. Frontiers in Neuroscience, July 12.

Costa-Giomi, E. (1999). The effect of three years of piano instruction on children’s cognitive
development. Journal of Research in Music Education, 47 (3), 198-212. EJ 604 142.

Cumming, R., Wilson, A., Leong, V., Goswami, U. (2015). Awareness of rhythm patterns in speech
and music in children with specific language impairments. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 9(672).

Degé, F., Schwarzer, G. (2011). The effect of a music program on phonological awareness in
preschoolers. Frontiers in Psychology, 2: 124.

Frey, A., Francois, C., Chobert, J., Velay, J., Habib, M., Besson, M. (2019). Music training positively influences the preattentive perception of voice onset time in children with dyslexia: a longitudinal study. Brain Sciences. Apr; 9(4): 91. Showed a normalization of the preattentive processing of VOT in children with DD after music training) 

Fujioka, T., Ross, B., Kakigi, R., Pantev, C., & Trainor, L. (2006). One year of musical training affects development of auditory cortical-evoked fields in young children. Brain, 129 (10), 2593-2608.

Habib, M., Lardy, C., Desiles, T., Commeiras, C., Chobert, J., Besson, M., (2016). Music and dyslexia: A new musical training method to improve reading and related disorders. Frontiers in Psychology.
(Significant improvement in categorical perception and auditory perception of temporal components of speech, auditory attention, phonological awareness (syllable fusion), reading abilities, and repetition of pseudo-words.) 

Ho, Y., Cheung, M., & Chan, A.S. (2003). Music training improves verbal but not visual memory;

Cross-sectional and longitudinal explorations in children. Neuropsychology, 17 (3), 439-450.

Hyde, K.L., Lerch, J., Norton, A., Forgeard, M., Winner, E., Evans, A.C., Schlaug, G. (2009). 
Musical training shapes structural brain development. Journal of Neuroscience, 29(10), 3019-3025.

Kraus, N., Chandrasekarn, B. (2010). Music training for the development of auditory skills. 
Nature Reviews, 11, 599-605.

Loui, P., Kroog, K., Zuk, J., Winner, E., Schlaug, G. (2011). Relating pitch awareness to phonemic
awareness in children: implications for tone-deafness and dyslexia. Frontiers in Psychology

Moreno, S., Marques, C., Santos, A., Santos, M., Castro, S., Besson, M. (2009). Musical training
influences linguistic abilities in 8-year-old children: More evidence for brain plasticity. 
Cerebral Cortex, 19 (3), 712-723.

Patel, A. Music, Language and the Brain. Oxford: University Press, 2008.

Schellenberg, E. G. (2004). Music lessons enhance IQ. American Psychological Society, 15 (8), 511-514.


Virtala, P., Partanen, E. Can very early music interventions promote at-risk infants' development? (2018). NY Academy of Sciences (Music making and parental singing promote infants' early language development and auditory neural processing.) 


Courey, S., Balogh, E., Siker, J., Paik, J. (2012). Academic Music: Music instruction to engage third grade students in learning basic fraction concepts. Educational Studies in Mathematics.

Patel, A., J. Rosenberg, J., Slevc, L. (2009). Making psycholinguistics musical: Self-paced reading time evidence for shared processing of linguistic and musical syntax. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review. 16 (2), 374-381.

Rauscher, F.H., & LeMieux, M.T. (2003). Piano, rhythm, and singing instruction improve different aspects of spatial-temporal reasoning in head start children. Cognitive Neuroscience Society.


Zhao, T. C. & Kuhl, P. K. (2016). Music intervention enhances infants’ neural processing of temporal structure in music and speech. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 113(19), 5212–5217. doi:10.1073/pnas.1603984113 (PDF)


Anvari, S.H., Trainor, L.J, Woodside, J, & Levy, B.A. (2002). Relations among musical skills, phonological processing, and early reading ability in preschool children. Journal of Experimental Child Psychology, 83 (20), 111-130.

Flaugnacco, E., Lopez, L., Terribili, C., Montico, M., Zoia, S., Schön, D. (2015), Music training increases phonological awareness and reading skills in developmental dyslexia: a randomized control trial. Plos.

Gordon, R., Fehd, H., McCandliss, B. (2015). Does music training enhance literacy skills? A meta-analysis. Frontiers of Psychology, 6, 1777.

Gromko, J.E., (2005). The effect of music instruction on phonemic awareness in beginning readers. Journal of Research in Music Education, 53 (3), 199-209.

Habib, M., Lardy, C., Desiles, T., Commeiras, C., Chobert, J., Besson, M., (2016). Music and dyslexia: A new musical training method to improve reading and related disorders. Frontiers in Psychology.

Kraus, N.

Lamb S. J., Gregory A. H. (1993). The relationship between music and reading in beginning readers. Educational Psychology, 13, 19–2710.1080/0144341930130103 [CrossRef]

Loui, P., Kroog, K., Zuk, J., Winner, E., Schlaug, G. (2011). Relating pitch awareness to phonemic awareness in children: implications for tone-deafness and dyslexia. Frontiers in Psychology

Ludke, K., Ferreira, F., Overy, K. (2014). Singing can facilitate foreign language learning. Memory & CognitionVol. 42, 1, 41–52.

Lundetrae, K., Thomson., J. (2017). Rhythm production at school entry as a predictor of poor reading and spelling at the end of first grade. Reading and Writing, 31(1), 215-237.

Tierney, A., Kraus, N. (2013). Music Training for the Development of Reading Skills. In Merzenich, M., Nahum, M., Vleet, T., ed: Progress in Brain Research, Vol. 207, pp. 209-241.

The U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearinghouse (2014) found that repeated reading “was found to have potentially positive effects on reading comprehension and no discernible effects on alphabetics, reading fluency, and general reading achievement for students with learning disabilities.”


Bowmer, A., Mason, K., Knight, J., Welch, G. (2018). Investigating the impact of musical intervention on preschool children’s executive function. Frontiers in Psychology, 9:2389.

Gerry, D., Unrau, A., Trainor, L. (2012). Active music classes in infancy enhance musical, communicative and social development. Developmental Science, 15(3), 398-407.


TUNE into READING (TiR) Software

Bennett, S.V., Calderone, C., Dedrick, R.F. Gunn, A.A. (2015). “Do I have to leave?” Beyond linear text: struggling readers’ motivation with an innovative musical program. Reading Improvement. 52 (2), 51-10 (10).

Biggs, M.C., Watkins, N.A. (2008). Reading fluency through alternative text: Rereading with an interact sing-to-read program embedded within a middle school music classroom. Journal on School Educational Technology. 4(1), 24-35.

Biggs, M.C., Homan, S., Dedrick, R., Minick, V., Rasinksi, R. (2008), Using an interactive singing software program: A comparative study of struggling middle school readers. Reading Psychology, 29(3), 195-213.

Biggs, M.C. (2007). Reading fluency through alternative text: Rereading with an interactive sing-to-read program embedded within middle school music classroom. Scholar Commons. Ph.D. Dissertation.

Biggs, M.C., Homan, S.P., Dedrick, R. (2005). Does singing improve reading skills? Using unique “learn-to-sing” software with struggling middle school readers. Pilot study internal to University of South Florida.

Rhythmic Training for Students with Dyslexia
Habib, M., Lardy, C., Desiles, T., Commeiras, C., Chobert, J., Besson, M., (2016). Music and dyslexia: A new musical training method to improve reading and related disorders. Frontiers in Psychology.

Affirming Parallel Concepts
Olson, E. K. B. (2003). Affirming parallel concepts among reading, mathematics, and music through Kodály music instruction. Doctoral dissertation, University of Iowa. Dissertation Abstracts International, 64 (12) 4400A.

Kolthari, B. (2015). Same language subtitling on TV: putting children’s reading literacy on a path to lifelong practice and improvement. PlanetRead: Executive Summary. AID-386-F-12-00003.

Kothari, B., Bandyopadhyay, T. (2014) Same language subtitling of bollywood film songs on TV: effects on literacy. Information Technologies and International Development. 10 (4)

McCall, W.G. & Craig, C. (2009). Same-Language-Subtitling (SLS): Using Subtitled Music Video for Reading Growth. In G. Siemens & C. Fulford (Eds.), Proceedings of ED-MEDIA 2009--World Conference on Educational Multimedia, Hypermedia & Telecommunications (pp. 3983-3992). Honolulu, HI, USA: Association for the Advancement of Computing in Education (AACE). Retrieved January 26, 2019 from Note: the U.S. Department of Education What Works Clearing House found that these results were statistically significant.

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