Remediation of reading difficulties through music and auditory-based interventions in children with impairments in reading (such as developmental dyslexia) has been suggested in light of the putative neural and cognitive overlaps between the music and language domains. Several studies had explored the effect of music training on reading development, showing mixed results. However, to date, the meta-analyses on this topic did not differentiate the studies on typical children from those on children with reading difficulties. To draw a clear picture of the remedial effects of music-based and auditory-based interventions, the present review of the literature included studies on struggling readers only. Eighteen studies have been categorized according to the type of the main training activity – either specific auditory training or more broad music training – and the combination with reading exercises. The reviewed studies showed that musical and auditory interventions yielded a positive, but not consistent, effect on reading. Nevertheless, significantly larger improvements of phonological abilities, relative to the control conditions, were overall reported. These findings support the hypothesis of a transfer effect of musical and auditory training on phonological and literacy skills in children with reading difficulties.
- Auditory training
- Phonological awareness