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Using Music And Rhythm To Help Kids With Grammar And Language

KQED News Mind/Shift – Robert Siegel and Andrea Hsu

“Gordon has previously published research showing a correlation in children between good rhythm skills and a good grasp of grammar. She found children who can detect rhythmic variations in music have an easier time putting sentences together. “One thing that rhythm and grammar have in common is that they both unfold over time, and our brains form expectancies about what’s coming up based on what we just heard,” says Gordon. Consider the following sentence: The boy read the book that his mother gave to him. “When we hear ‘The boy read,’ then we’re expecting an object after that,” Gordon says. “Then when we hear ‘The boy read the book that,‘ then we’re expecting an additional clause – something else about the book.” By age 5, Gordon says children typically understand and use complex sentences. But studies have shown that about 7 percent of children have what’s known as specific language impairment or developmental language disorder, which hinders their language skills even though they have IQs in the normal range and don’t have autism or hearing impairment.”(more)

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