Oats, Peas, Beans, and Early Literacy Skills Grow: A Program Evaluation of Education Through Music

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The acquisition of literacy skills is a complex and multi-faceted process that begins long before typical school-based literacy instruction. The present study sought to examine and expand research regarding the independent and interactive contributions of neuropsychological development, movement, play, and music on the development of literacy skills. The current study investigated Education Through Music, a play-based music-education program that incorporated all of these elements, to determine if their use in an everyday classroom environment impacted literacy-skill development, in particular phonological awareness. Participants included 76 (35 girls, 41 boys) typically-developing, native English-speaking kindergarten students from a school district located in Northern California. Phonological awareness skills were measured at four time periods over the course of a school year using the Phonological Awareness Test 2. Relative to non-music-oriented classroom controls, students participating in Education Through Music classrooms demonstrated significantly higher performance in the areas of segmentation (i.e., using sentences, syllables, and phonemes) as well as rhyming production. Results provide initial support for the use of vocal music in the classroom as it relates to early literacy skill development.
Dissertation completed in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the Doctor of Psychology degree in School Psychology at Alfred University, Alfred, NY.
Reading instruction, Music education, Educational psychology