Early Scope

Good Rhythm = Better Grammar?

RLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Singing, dancing, tapping your feet: It takes skills to have good rhythm, but being rhythmically in-tune can mean more for your child than just being able to keep a beat.

Getting a child to combine words and a phrase to make a sentence may be as simple as helping them feel the beat to their favorite song. Researchers at Vanderbilt University gave 25 typically developing six-year-olds two tests, one measuring grammar skills and the other measuring music skills. They found that those who did well on one test also did well on the other, regardless of socioeconomic background or IQ. This suggests that children who can detect rhythmic variations in music may have an easier time putting sentences together.

Parents can help their child feel the beat by engaging in musical activities together. Have kids sing along to music while they clap their hands and tap their feet. They are learning language to a new beat, while still having fun. In two similar studies, researchers showed that brain responses to the rhythms of speech are related to musical rhythm abilities. Also in Finland, researchers found that formal music training was linked to better foreign language skills.

Contributors to this news report include: Cyndy McGrath, Supervising Producer; Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor. Produced by Child Trends News Service in partnership with Ivanhoe Broadcast News and funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation. 


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