Estudio de la relación entre la estimulación sonoro-musical y las destrezas lectoras iniciales en el aprendizaje de una lengua extranjera

Supervised by:
  1. Francisco Herrero Machancoses Director
  2. María del Carmen Fonseca Mora Director

Defence university: Universidad de Huelva

Fecha de defensa: 18 July 2017

  1. Jesús Manuel Nieto García Chair
  2. Fernando David Rubio Alcalá Secretary
  3. Susanne Maria Reiterer Committee member

Type: Thesis


In view of the evidence showing overlaps between cognitive and neural resources involved in language and music, numerous studies have confirmed the existence of a relationship between musical aptitude and reading skills in the acquisition of a first language (LI), together with the enhancing effects of musical training on language processing and cognitive functions such as auditory and phonological abilities, word recognition, reading fluency and comprehension, prosodic contour, working memory and verbal intelligence. However, much less attention has been paid to studies analysing the causal link between musical training, musical abilities and reading skills in a second language (L2) or foreign language (LE). This PhD thesis proposes an alternative teaching method based on speech-sound stimulation to improve the ability of learning to read in a FL from a transdisciplinary perspective. The general objective of this study is to test the efficacy of two phonological training programmes on the early reading skills of 7-8- year-old Spanish learners of English as a FL. The influence of musical-phonological instruction on working memory will be also explored. For this purpose, and after carrying out an extensive review of the multidisciplinary data-collection instruments used at an international level for the study of musical influence on the development of reading skills, the learners· reading, musical and cognitive abilities have been assessed. The most frequently-used instruments found in the literature review were administered to 63 second-grade Spanish learners of English as a FL. The administered battery of research instruments included: two reading tests, in English and Spanish, a cognitive abilities test, a musical perception test and a sociocultural survey. Moreover, two phonological training programmes based on audio-video formal were created and implemented in the class: a musical-phonological programme that used melodies, songs with lyrics and rhythm presented in video-clips; and another phonological training programme, the same as the musical one, but without the support of musical elements. Besides, a control group which received the traditional teaching method was also included. The results confirm the influence of music on both LI and FL early reading skills. lt has been underlined the lack of studies about the effect of musical-phonological stimulation on the development of early reading skills in a FL, together with the need of standardized reading assessment tools that can be applied both to Spanish as a LI and English as a FL. The existent instruments should be adapted to the context of Spanish students of English as a FL for teachers to use them as friendly tools in the FL classroom. This study also provides sorne didactic guidelines for teachers to work on decoding and reading fluency skills in class with the aim of implementing a future reading training programme which may remedy students' reading problems in the FL. The main result of this study points to the beneficial effect of a musical-phonological training programme based on melodies, rhythm and phonemic discrimination on second graders' working memory and early reading skills (alphabetic principle, phonological awareness, decoding and oral reading fluency) in English as FL. Nonetheless, this work also reveals that the learning-to-read process in the FL is not only benefitted from the speech-sound stimulation but it is the phonological training programme with and without musical support the one that seem to have significant effects on students' early reading skills. Finally, this study also concludes that musical perception abilities and L1 reading competence can influence and facilitate the learning of FL early reading skills, suggesting that the process of learning to read in a FL depends on a third variable, the LI.