Saturday, September 24, 2011

Dissertation Dish: Can pitch or rhythm (Ga-auditory processing) training improve phonological awareness (Ga)

The effectiveness of Separate Pitch and Rhythm Training Interventions on the Phonological Awareness of Kindergarten Learners by Richards, Susannah Converse, Ed.D., Northcentral University, 2011 , 171 pages; AAT 3472255


Although neuroscientists assert that music training impacts neural development, previous research has not teased apart which components of music possibly enhance language literacy in emergent readers. The purpose of this quantitative research study was to establish if immersion in pitch activities as compared with rhythm activities could cause the significant development of initial sound (IS) skills, letter sounds (LS) skills, and sound pattern skills in kindergarten readers. This study examined the effectiveness of supplemental music instruction on the phonological awareness skills of kindergarten learners ( N = 38) who originated from seven classrooms in one suburban elementary school. Leveled subjects randomly were assigned to an experimental pitch group ( n = 12), or an experimental rhythm group ( n = 11), or a control group ( n = 15). During sixteen 40-minute sessions that spanned eight weeks, pitch group subjects explored the highness and lowness of sound, while rhythm group subjects investigated the duration of sound. The control group engaged in 20-minute weekly read-aloud sessions. Pre- and post-test data collection consisted of the kindergarten version of the Test of Phonological Awareness - Second Edition: Plus , and the sound patterns music subtest of the Woodcock Johnson III . Data was converted to Statistical Package for the Social Sciences (SPSS) for analysis. Separate 3 x 3 factorial Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) revealed the levels differed on each of the IS variables (pitch [ F =7.74; df = 3], rhythm [ F = .07; df = 3], control [ F = .18; df = 2]); and the LS variables (low pitch [ F = 1.0; df = 3], low rhythm [ F = 6.62; df = 3], low control [ F = 4.0; df = 2]). Significance was observed with a matched-pairs t -test with the low pitch treatment group ( t [3] = 0.034, p < 0.04). Future research should recruit a larger sample and utilize a different music assessment. This study provides insight into a real-world application relative to specific components of music that potentially enhance the phonological awareness of the most challenged of kindergarten readers before remediation is necessary.

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