How the Use of Music and Movement Impacts the Learning of Reading Skills by Preschoolers
Keywords:print knowledge, definitional vocabulary, phonological awareness, literacy, preschool
The preschool years are considered the ‘prime time’ for children to develop physically, socially, cognitively, and linguistically. The most critical issue in current education is the poor development of reading skills among children. Research indicates that integrating music into children’s daily activities promotes literacy development, particularly with English language learners. Unfortunately, music is not emphasised in Malaysian government preschools, as music teachers lack the appropriate knowledge and teaching skills. The purpose of this study was to assess the effect of music and movement on the reading skills of 40 five-year-old preschoolers at a university preschool. This study sought to evaluate three reading skills or subtests — Print Knowledge, Definitional Vocabulary, and Phonological Awareness. The intervention comprised musical activities that included songs or singing nursery rhymes with body movements. This quasi-experimental design utilised the Test of Preschool Early Literacy which measures early literacy skills for preschoolers. The results showed that music and movement activities impacted preschoolers in their overall reading skills (p = .02), print knowledge (p = .005), and definitional vocabulary (p = .03) after the intervention, but did not impact on their phonological awareness skills (p = .18). These findings confirmed that music and movement enhanced literacy skills for a duration of six weeks. Many opportunities should be included for children so that they can be thoroughly engaged in music and literacy activities. Teachers should be equipped with sufficient skills and knowledge and also implement a high-quality music programme to develop effective reading skills.