A1 Journal article (refereed)
Rhythm and Reading : Connecting the Training of Musical Rhythm to the Development of Literacy Skills (2024)

Ahokas, J. R., Saarikallio, S., Welch, G., Parviainen, T., & Louhivuori, J. (2024). Rhythm and Reading : Connecting the Training of Musical Rhythm to the Development of Literacy Skills. Early Childhood Education Journal, Early online. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10643-024-01654-4

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsAhokas, J. Riikka; Saarikallio, Suvi; Welch, Graham; Parviainen, Tiina; Louhivuori, Jukka

Journal or seriesEarly Childhood Education Journal



Publication year2024

Publication date21/03/2024

VolumeEarly online


Publication countryNetherlands

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessPartially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/94261


This study investigated whether enhanced rhythm training improves literacy development and working memory performance in pupils in the first and second year of school. According to recent literature, we hypothesized that rhythm-focused training could be effective for children with reading difficulties. Pupils aged 6 to 8 years participated in the study, implemented as part of regular school music lessons. Children were divided into an experimental group that received enhanced rhythm training and a control group that received an equivalent amount of music instruction but without enhanced rhythm training. The intervention was delivered once a week for three months (13 lessons in total). The test battery included pre- and post-measures (0 and 3 months, respectively) with literacy and working memory assessment, and follow-ups (8 and 20 months) with literacy assessment. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in literacy skills after training. However, there was a moderate improvement in working memory performance for the experimental, but not the comparison group. In a post hoc analysis, we found an effect in a subgroup of lower starting-level readers, as the increase in literacy development of these students was statistically significant in the experimental, but not in the comparison group.


Free keywordsmusical rhythm; music and movement; literacy skills; reading impairment; close-to-practice design

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Related projects

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2024

Preliminary JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-15-06 at 20:46