Can nursery rhymes and music help children overcome dyslexia?

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According to a Cambridge Professor, children can overcome dyslexia by learning nursery rhymes, dancing and singing.

The condition is caused by a lack of rhythm in the brain, and Usha Goswami, Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience at Cambridge, has spent the past 10 years testing the brains of youngsters to help discover what leads to dyslexia.

She discovered that rather than children reading incorrectly, dyslexia is an inability to see rhythm in the words when they are being spoken. In scans taken when testing the children, they discovered that the metre of words was out of phase with internal rhythms in the brain, causing children to struggle encoding the patterns and therefore memorising speech.

She believes that by keeping the rhythmic pattern, it will help children to eventually read properly, stating:

“Children who are dyslexic struggle with speech rhythm,”

“We realised that children are struggling in tasks which are not related to learning or reading but are related to rhythm.”

“So we began to think that rhythm and these problems found in children with dyslexia might be related.”

Dyslexia is considered to be the most common learning difficulty, with an estimated 1 in every 10 people within the UK struggling with this to a certain degree.

Britain has one of the highest rates of dyslexia due to the complexity of the language.

To combat this, Professor Goswami recommends clapping games, music, nursery rhymes and marching to The Grand Old Duke of York.

“All kinds of rhythmic experiences can be helpful, nursery rhymes, dancing and music as long as the beat is matched to language,” she said.

“Playground clapping and games may be very important to stopping dyslexia. You could start to remediate it before children even start school.

“If children keep it up they will learn to read. It will definitely happen. The brain just needs more training. These children need to know that their brain just works a bit differently and reading is going to be harder for them.”

 

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