The rythmn and sound of reading

npj Summary of research suggesting literacy skills are linked to the brain's ability to keep rythmn and process sound⎮1 min read

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Reading in all its forms is the way humans learn about and navigate through the world. There are many studies focused on why children experience challenges to literacy and the role of rythmn on language has previously been shown to assist the development of speech and then reading.

A team of scientists based at Northwestern University in the USA, predicted there are connections between the brains ability to process sound and rythmn to literacy development. 150 preschoolers were given a beat synchronisation task to perform, which encouraged the children to replicate the beats played by the experimentor on a drum. Other related tasks were also given to the children to complete, and the results of the overall analysis supported the scientists hypothesis and prediction. 

For more information, please read the report by Silvia Bonacina, Stephanie Huang, Travis White-Schwoch, Jennifer Krizman, Trent Nicol & Nina Kraus, Rhythm, reading, and sound processing in the brain in preschool children, published by npj Science of Learning.


Bonacina, S., Huang, S., White-Schwoch, T. et al. Rhythm, reading, and sound processing in the brain in preschool children. npj Sci. Learn. 6, 20 (2021).

Gabrielle Ahern

Former Managing Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

I am based in Queensland, Australia, and have an interesting portfolio of skills, experience and qualifications in content creation, and science research.