Reading fluency, temporal processing and musical training: exploring the relationship between musical training and rhythmic-motor ability, and the development of literacy sub skills that contribute to reading fluency

Adam Wigley

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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Abstract

[Truncated abstract] The way the brain processes speech plays a critical part in literacy acquisition. How the brain deals with events in time has also been associated with literacy development. Theorists vigorously debate whether these two processes contribute to literacy development in a fully integrated way or contribute separately and to different aspects of literacy skill. In addition, many researchers have demonstrated a relationship between musical training and literacy but relatively few have convincingly examined the underpinnings of this relationship. This research uses musical training to examine possible differential involvement of speech-sound (phonological) and temporal processing in the development in literacy. The studies presented in this thesis were designed to investigate the cognitive processes underlying a specific literacy outcome, reading fluency, and a measure shown to be closely associated with this outcome, rapid automatised naming (RAN). The overall working hypothesis adopted for the research program was that musical training improves subprocesses underlying the development of reading fluency via the training of nonlinguistic temporal processing abilities. This hypothesis is rooted in the proposal by Wolf and Bowers (1999) that poor RAN abilities represent an independent deficit (from language based phonological processes) in reading disordered populations, and that this may be underpinned by some aspect of general temporal processing ability. The first study was a training study for which two early music programs were devised. One program focused on developing rhythmic-motor abilities with rhythmic movement and percussion type activities, but without using any singing or chanting activities, while the other focused on improving the non-rhythmic musical aspects of language/speech processing (e.g., rhyme and alliteration).
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012

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