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Title: Can reading skills that are developed through the reading of music be transferred to benefit the early decoding of text? : a randomised controlled trial
Author: Betteney, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 1597
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2012
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This study reports on an RCT which examined whether a 6-week intervention of music reading through recorder playing had an effect on phonic decoding skills in children (n=50) aged 5-6. The study was conducted during the Autumn term of 2010, by recruiting matched randomised intervention and control groups from two combined parallel Year 1 classes in a Primary school in North West Kent, England. Pre- and post-tests measured the recognition fluency of single-letter graphemes; clusters & digraphs; and nonsense words, and analysis was made of these categories when combined, and separately. Analysis of the data revealed that the children who received six weeks of music instruction showed significantly greater gains in their development of decoding clusters and digraphs, and of nonsense words, than did those in the control group. Pre-test data showed that the children’s recognition of single-letter graphemes was at an advanced stage, and a negative effect was revealed in that category as a result of the randomised allocation of matched pairs. The data showed a modest overall effect size of d = 0.29. However, the result was not statistically significant (t = 1.061; df = 48; one-tailed p = 0.147). A systematic audit of the RCT was undertaken. Children were also interviewed about their experiences of learning to read music. Analyses of these interviews compared and contrasted the children’s awareness of themselves as readers, and as readers of music, and compared their experiences of learning the two genres. The interviews demonstrated that the majority of children had little difficulty in correctly interpreting crotchets, quavers and rests through the clapping of series and combinations of these three symbols, but the recognition of the names of notes (G, A, B) was more problematic. Interviews with research assistants, together with analyses of the incremental difficulty of the pieces of music that the children were taught, confirmed the presence of developing skills in music reading. The concept of near-transfer was explored, and the results supported an hypothesis that the synchronous learning of simple formal music notation can have a beneficial effect on the development of phonic decoding skills.
Supervisor: Greg, Brooks Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ed.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available