How Karaoke Can Help Struggling Readers

January 3, 2014 by Geoff Nixon

From sing-along films for children to karaoke nights for adults, we’re taught to love belting out those words bouncing across the screen. But you probably didn’t know that there is an educational advantage to karaoke, especially for children who struggle with reading or have language processing disorder. Find out why karaoke is an effective strategy for helping young children build their language processing skills:

  1. Following along with the words, and training the brain to say them aloud in time with the music, fosters language retention and production. Children must learn to both read and process the words thoroughly enough to speak them nearly simultaneously. This process can help rewire the brain to improve processing accuracy and speed.
  2. The music is encouraging, not embarrassing. When asked to read aloud, struggling children can often be embarrassed in front of their peers. Rather than discourage children with a negative association of reading and speaking, the music aspect of karaoke allows children to have fun. They are encouraged to speak with the beat, and they enjoy the result of making music.
  3. It relieves the pressure. No one’s reading, speaking and singing skills are perfect, and this becomes evident to anyone experiencing karaoke, regardless of reading ability. Struggling readers can feel more freedom to make mistakes when they see their peers do the same in karaoke and still enjoy themselves.
  4. Students can learn at their own pace with karaoke. They can choose to perfect one song or try out several to find their favorites. This can reveal a child’s learning style, helping parents and teachers work more effectively to improve language processing skills.

Have you tried karaoke with your child? Share your experiences in the comments!

  • Ryan Wilson

    I never thought about it this way. I never realized that you could help children read by using karaoke. But it does make sense, I think this would also be fun for the children, it would be educational and fun. Great job on this topic.

  • The whole idea of cognitive loading is fascinating –helping the brain automate certain functions, like reading, by giving it something more challenging (like singing) that it has to concentrate on. Once it is done subconsciously, it is automatic and easier, like riding a bike.

    I believe cognitive loading will be the center of a lot of new therapies over the next several years.