Can Music Encourage Your Child to Read?

A post from Best Blog For Kids Who Hate To Read:  A family blog for reluctant readers and their parents.  by Gail Terp


Music and Literacy in Early Childhood

Written by Dylan Glanzer

Music is the universal language of mankind.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

The first song many children learn is the “ABCs”. It is not a coincidence that we use music to help children memorize the basic letters of our language. Children seem to naturally respond to the melody and rhythm in their environment at a very early age. There have been many studies of the effect of music on babies even in utero.

So, can music help your child learn language and later, learn to read? Absolutely! Music and language both require the use of symbols matched with sound and pitch to reproduce:  language uses letters and music uses notes.

Music and the spoken language also have many similarities in how they are processed in the brain. Music is used in the earliest classrooms to build body awareness (Head, Shoulder’s Knees and Toes), facilitate gross motor development (If You’re Happy and You Know It), teach fine motor skills (The Itsy Bitsy Spider), and to help children learn basic concepts (Wheels on the Bus).

Since most children enjoy these musical experiences and remember these songs well, it stands to reason that using music in the classroom will naturally increase vocabulary, improve listening skills, and build their understanding of a wide range of topics. All of these skills lead to a strong foundation for reading.

Many research studies have connected early music instruction with higher reading scores, such as The Impact of Music on Language & Early Literacy: A Research Summary In Support of Kindermusik’s ABC Music & Me and Promoting Literacy Through Music, Woodall and Ziembroski, Songs for Teaching, 2002.

Oral language is an interactive and social process,

and music is a natural way for children

to experience rich language in a pleasurable way.

~ Woodall and Ziembroski

Could you imagine a world without music? Just like language, music is a way in which we communicate our feelings, elaborate on experiences, and share our emotions. Music sets the tone, changes mood, inspires action, fuels imagination, and activates memory. Music can also help a child build a strong foundation for reading.

When we share music with children, we give them a gift. So next time they want you to tell them a story, try singing one!


If you have songs and activities you enjoy doing with your child, please add then to the Comments Box!

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