Sequence Processing in Music Predicts Reading Skills in Young Readers: A Longitudinal Study

Andrade, Paulo E.; Müllensiefen, Daniel; Andrade, Olga V.C.A.; Dunstan, Jade; Zuk, Jennifer and Gaab, Nadine. 2024. Sequence Processing in Music Predicts Reading Skills in Young Readers: A Longitudinal Study. Journal of Learning Disabilities, 57(1), pp. 43-60. ISSN 0022-2194 [Article]

JLD-08-22-129.R3_Proof_hi.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (635kB) | Preview

Abstract or Description

Musical abilities, both in the pitch and temporal dimension, have been shown to be positively associated with phonological awareness and reading abilities in both children and adults. There is increasing evidence that the relationship between music and language relies primarily on the temporal dimension, including both meter and rhythm. It remains unclear to what extent skill level in these temporal aspects of music may uniquely contribute to the prediction of reading outcomes. A longitudinal design was used to test a group-administered musical sequence transcription task (MSTT). This task was designed to preferentially engage sequence processing skills while controlling for fine-grained pitch discrimination and rhythm in terms of temporal grouping. Forty-five children, native speakers of Portuguese (Mage = 7.4 years), completed the MSTT and a cognitive-linguistic protocol that included visual and auditory working memory tasks, as well as phonological awareness and reading tasks in second grade. Participants then completed reading assessments in third and fifth grades. Longitudinal regression models showed that MSTT and phonological awareness had comparable power to predict reading. The MSTT showed an overall classification accuracy for identifying low-achievement readers in Grades 2, 3, and 5 that was analogous to a comprehensive model including core predictors of reading disability. In addition, MSTT was the variable with the highest loading and the most discriminatory indicator of a phonological factor. These findings carry implications for the role of temporal sequence processing in contributing to the relationship between music and language and the potential use of MSTT as a language-independent, time- and cost-effective tool for the early identification of children at risk of reading disability.

Item Type:


Identification Number (DOI):


music, reading, reading disability, screening

Departments, Centres and Research Units:



14 February 2023Accepted
20 March 2023Published Online

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

21 Mar 2023 09:38

Last Modified:

08 Jan 2024 13:51

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.


View statistics for this item...

Edit Record Edit Record (login required)