The beneficial effects of musical training are not limited to enhancement of musical skills, but extend to language skills. Here, we review evidence that musical training can enhance reading ability. First, we discuss five subskills underlying reading acquisition-phonological awareness, speech-in-noise perception, rhythm perception, auditory working memory, and the ability to learn sound patterns-and show that each is linked to music experience. We link these five subskills through a unifying biological framework, positing that they share a reliance on auditory neural synchrony. After laying this theoretical groundwork for why musical training might be expected to enhance reading skills, we review the results of longitudinal studies providing evidence for a role for musical training in enhancing language abilities. Taken as a whole, these findings suggest that musical training can provide an effective developmental educational strategy for all children, including those with language learning impairments.

Chapter in: Changing Brains: Applying Brain Plasticity to Advance and Recover Human Ability.

Full chapter for purchase here: Music Training for the Development of Reading Skills – ScienceDirect