Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts


College of Education and International Services

First Advisor

Millie Youngberg

Second Advisor

Wilfred G. A. Futcher

Third Advisor

Paul E Hamel



Recent research in the area of development of language skills indicates a trend toward exploration of the role of the auditory modality in learning to read. Rhythm is frequently thought to be an important contributing element. A correlational study was undertaken to discover the extent to which a relationship exists between rhythm ability and reading achievement in a sample of middle class fifth-grade children of both sexes.


One hundred and thirty-seven fifth-grade students participated in the study. Of these, 63 were males and 74 were females. Pearson product-moment correlation coefficients were found between scores of rhythm ability and scores of reading achievement, on three levels of overall ability for the boys and the girls, and for the entire sample. Rhythm scores were obtained by administering the rhythm test of the Drake Musical Aptitude Tests. Reading achievement scores and scores of overall achievement were derived from the Iowa Tests of Basic Skills, Form Five, which had been administered the previous semester.


A significant positive correlation between rhythm ability and reading achievement was found to exist for the sample as a whole, and for the high achieving subgroup (p < .10), with no difference in the magnitude of the correlation for either sex. No significant correlation appeared to exist for the average and low achieving subgroups of either sex. However, a comparison of the mean scores of rhythm ability and reading achievement indicate that while overall ability decreases, mean scores for rhythm and reading also decrease.


A relationship between rhythm ability and reading achievement does seem to exist for the children of this sample. However, the predictive value of rhythm ability is limited to the high overall achievement level. As a diagnostic tool for individual children rhythm ability is only one of many interrelated factors to be considered in the assessment of learning difficulties, and its value is questionable. Rhythm being a fundamental element, it merits consideration as an enriching component of the elementary curriculum, which might have beneficial effects on other areas The concept that rhythm training promotes the development of reading skills is inadequately defined and not well researched and requires further investigation.

Subject Area

Rhythm; Reading--Ability testing


Included in

Education Commons