Rhythm, reading, and sound processing in the brain in preschool children

Silvia Bonacina, Stephanie Huang, Travis White-Schwoch, Jennifer Krizman, Trent Nicol, Nina Kraus*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


A child’s success in school relies on their ability to quickly grasp language and reading skills, the foundations of which are acquired even before entering a formal classroom setting. Previous studies in preschoolers have begun to establish relationships linking beat synchronization, preliteracy skills, and auditory processing. Beat synchronization involves the integration of sensorimotor systems with auditory and cognitive circuits and, therefore calls on many of the same neural networks as language. Using a drumming task, we analyzed the relationship between children’s ability to maintain an isochronous beat with preliteracy skills and frequency following responses (FFRs) in over 150 preschoolers. We show that preschoolers who performed well on the beat synchronization task outscored their peers on all preliteracy measures and had more robust FFRs. Furthermore, the good synchronizers experienced less degradation of certain FFR measures when listening in noise. Together, our results are consistent with the view that rhythm, preliteracy, and auditory processing are interconnected during early childhood.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number20
Journalnpj Science of Learning
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental Neuroscience


Dive into the research topics of 'Rhythm, reading, and sound processing in the brain in preschool children'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this