A Rhythmic Musical Intervention for Poor Readers: A Comparison of Efficacy With a Letter-Based Intervention


Address correspondence to Usha Goswami, Centre for Neuroscience in Education, Department of Psychology, University of Cambridge, Downing Street, Cambridge CB2 3EB, UK; e-mail: ucg10@cam.ac.uk.


There is growing evidence that children with reading difficulties show impaired auditory rhythm perception and impairments in musical beat perception tasks. Rhythmic musical interventions with poorer readers may thus improve rhythmic entrainment and consequently improve reading and phonological skills. Here we compare the effects of a musical intervention for poor readers with a software intervention of known efficacy based on rhyme training and phoneme-grapheme learning. The research question was whether the musical intervention would produce gains of comparable effect sizes to the phoneme-grapheme intervention for children who were falling behind in reading development. Broadly, the two interventions had similar benefits for literacy, with large effect sizes.