作者：Valerie Maxsam Ed.S
来源：下载的 PDF 版本
Giving children music lessons won’t just introduce them to a world of
rhythm and melody – it could also significantly improve their language
Parents who spend time and money to teach their children music， take
heart — a new Canadian study shows young children who take music
lessons have better memories than their nonmusical peers。
The study， published in the online edition of the journal Brain，
showed that after one year of musical training， children performed
better in a memory test than those who did not take music classes。
While numerous studies have shown that learning an instrument can impact
things like language ability, it wasn’t understood if this was a side
effect of a general boost to cognitive skills, or something that
directly affected language processing.
“（The research） tells us that if you take music lessons your brain is
getting wired up differently than if you don‘t take music lessons，”
Laurel Trainor， professor of psychology， neuroscience and behavior at
McMaster University in Hamilton， Ontario， said。
“This is the first study to show that brain responses in young，
musically trained and untrained children change differently over the
course of a year，” said Trainor 。
Four prefixes account for 58 percent of all prefixed words:
Now, we are getting closer to an answer, thanks to a study of 74 Chinese
kindergarten children, led by neuroscientist Robert Desimone from MIT.
Over a year they took four measurements in two groups of children aged
between four and six — those taking music lessons and those taking no
musical training outside school — and found developmental changes over
periods as short as four months。
- In (il, ir, im)
The children completed a music test in which they were asked to
discriminate between harmonies， rhythms and melodies， and a memory
test in which they had to listen to a series of numbers， remember them
and repeat them back。
Twenty prefixes account for 97% of all prefixed words and 16 suffixes
account for 87% of all suffixed words.
“The children didn’t differ in the more broad cognitive measures, but
they did show some improvements in word discrimination, particularly for
consonants,” explains Desimone.
Trainor said while previous studies have shown that older children given
music lessons had greater improvements in IQ scores than children given
drama lessons， this is the first study to identify these effects in
brain-based measurements in young children。
Why don’t we spell words the way they sound?
She said it was not that surprising that children studying music
improved in musical listening skills more than children not studying
As a succession of languages brought an influx of new vocabulary into
English over the centuries—German, Scandinavian, French, Latin, Greek
and Spanish — the way these words were spelled in the original
language was usually brought in as well. This had an inevitable effect
of moving spelling away from its straightforwardly alphabetic,
letter-sound foundation. The root word used depends on the people who
created the word, the purpose of the word, when the word entered
The development of the English language is divided into three periods
Old English, Middle English and Modern English. The beginning and end
of each period is marked by a significant event, such as an invasion
or an invention.
“The piano group showed the best improvement there.”
“On the other hand， it is very interesting that the children taking
music lessons improved more on general memory skills that are correlated
with nonmusical abilities such as literacy， verbal memory，
visiospatial processing， mathematics and IQ，” she said。
Teaching students to only spell the 100 most frequently occurring words
is not the best instructional practice
Children have a much larger listening vocabulary than a speaking
vocabulary and their reading vocabulary exceeds their writing
The goal of teaching vocabulary is to move vocabulary from receptive to
For the study, Desimone’s team – including MIT scientists and
researchers from Beijing Normal University – recruited children from the
Chinese education system, with the support of education officials who
wanted to see how music learning might boost their academic results.
Most kids have a 5,000 word oral vocabulary when they come to school,
but reading vocabulary is much less than that. It is difficult for
children with less vocabulary knowledge to catch up with their
classmates because high achievers learn more words and they learn them
more quickly than low achievers.
Researchers have noticed that children from high SES homes know twice as
many words as those from low SES homes.
High SES students’ reading vocab. grow at a rate of 3,000 to 4,000 words
per year but it:
The 4- to 5-year-old Mandarin-speaking children in the study were
randomly divided into three groups. One group received a 45-minute piano
lesson three times a week, while another received extra reading
instruction classes. The third group acted as controls, taking no extra
lessons beyond their usual routine.
- Depends on type of instruction
- Depends on how well students use context clues
- Depends on students’ interest
Between grades 3-9, it is estimated that children will encounter 100,000
distinct words in their reading. By the time children graduate from high
school, highachieving students’ vocabularies reach 50,000 words or more
The classes lasted for six months, after which the children were tested
on their ability to discriminate words based on differences in tone,
consonants, or vowels.
The breadth of knowledge is how many words a student knows, the depth of
vocabulary is how well a student knows the word. When teaching
vocabulary, teachers should focus on depth of knowledge. It is better to
teach 10 words that students will learn well than 50 words that students
will only be introduced too.
Formulate questions that become the basis for students’ future
The test results showed that the children who had taken piano lessons
performed significantly better at discriminating between words that
differ by a single consonant, when compared against the children who
took extra reading lessons.
“All evidence points to the seemingly illogical conclusion that the
faster most people read, the better they understand.” – Harry Shefter,
Faster Reading Self-Taught
“Once you learn to read, you will be forever free.” — Frederick Douglass
Compared to the control group, both the music learners and the extra
reading group did better in terms of discriminating words based on vowel
It is generally acknowledged that motivation plays a critical role in
learning. It often makes the difference between learning that is
superficial and shallow and learning that is deep and internalized.
Listed below are six research-based strategies that will help motivate
students to want to read:
The teacher as an explicit reading model. Research suggests
that teachers who love reading and are avid readers themselves
have students who have higher reading achievement than do students
of teachers who rarely read. Teachers become explicit reading
models when they share their own reading experiences with students
and emphasize how reading enhances and enriches their lives.
A book-rich classroom environment. A number of studies during
the past decade have provided support for the notion that when
children have environments that are book-rich, the motivation to
read is high.
Opportunities for choice. The role of choice, in motivation in
general and reading motivation in particular, is well recognized.
The research related to selfselection of reading materials
supports the notion that the books and stories that children find
most interesting are those they have selected for their own
reasons and purposes.
Opportunities to interact socially with others. Current
theories of motivation recognize that learning is facilitated by
social interactions with others. A number of recent studies have
indicated that social collaboration promotes achievement, higher
level cognition, and intrinsic desire to read.
Opportunities to become familiar with lots of books. Curiosity
is acknowledged to be a driving force in motivation.
Appropriate reading-related incentives. The findings of a
study suggest that if teachers are interested in developing an
intrinsic desire to read, books are indeed the best reward.
Extrinsic rewards that are strongly related to reading and reading
behaviors can be used effectively to increase intrinsic
motivation, particularly for children who do not have a
To get a sense of why these differences might be occurring, the
researchers measured the children’s brain activity via
electroencephalography (EEG) and found the piano group exhibited greater
sensitivity to tonal changes when tones were played to them at different
Phonics is the relationship between the letter and the sound it makes.
If a student reads the word cat as /kuh-ah-tuh/…cat…he or she is
reading phonetically. In this instance, you will most likely hear
students read aloud. They are not able to read words silently because
they are trying to make the letter-sound connection and they need to
hear and see the letter-sound connection.
Head Start (program)
The thinking goes, the exposure to music lessons helped develop this
tonal sensitivity, which in part explains their better verbal word
Head Start is a program of the United States Department of Health and
Human Services that provides comprehensive early childhood education,
health, nutrition, and parent involvement services to low-income
children and their families. The program’s services and resources are
designed to foster stable family relationships, enhance children’s
physical and emotional well-being, and establish an environment to
develop strong cognitive skills. The transition from preschool to
elementary school imposes diverse developmental challenges that
include requiring the children to engage successfully with their peers
outside of the family network, adjust to the space of a classroom, and
meet the expectations the school setting provides.
Launched in 1965 by its creator and first director Jule Sugarman, Head
Start was originally conceived as a catch-up summer school program
that would teach low-income children in a few weeks what they needed
to know to start elementary school. The Head Start Act of 1981
expanded the program. The program was revised when it was reauthorized
in December 2007. Head Start is one of the longest-running programs
attempting to address the effects of systemic poverty in the United
States by intervening to aid children. As of late 2005, more than 22
million children had participated. The current director of Head Start
is Blanca Enriquez, who was appointed in 2015.
ADD or ADHD
“That’s a big thing for kids in learning language: being able to hear
the differences between words,” Desimone says. “They really did benefit
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is a mental disorder
of the neurodevelopmental type. It is characterized by problems paying
attention, excessive activity, or difficulty controlling behavior
which is not appropriate for a person’s age. The symptoms appear
before a person is twelve years old, are present for more than six
months, and cause problems in at least two settings (such as school,
home, or recreational activities). In children, problems paying
attention may result in poor school performance. Although it causes
impairment, particularly in modern society, many children with ADHD
have a good attention span for tasks they find interesting.
Perhaps more importantly, results of IQ, attention, and working memory
among the three groups didn’t show any significant differences,
suggesting that the boost given by music instruction isn’t a general
cognitive lift, but something specific to language (and perhaps the
tone-based elements of it).
Socioeconomic status (SES) is an economic and sociological combined
total measure of a person’s work experience and of an individual’s or
family’s economic and social position in relation to others, based on
income, education, and occupation. When analyzing a family’s SES, the
household income, earners’ education, and occupation are examined, as
well as combined income, whereas for an individual’s SES only their
own attributes are assessed. However, SES is more commonly used to
depict an economic difference in society as a whole.
Socioeconomic status is typically broken into three levels (high,
middle, and low) to describe the three places a family or an
individual may fall into. When placing a family or individual into one
of these categories, any or all of the three variables (income,
education, and occupation) can be assessed.