Improving reading skills in students with dyslexia: The efficacy of a sublexical training with rhythmic background

Silvia Bonacina, Alice Cancer, Pier Luca Lanzi, Maria Luisa Lorusso, Alessandro Antonietti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The core deficit underlying developmental dyslexia (DD) has been identified in difficulties in dynamic and rapidly changing auditory information processing, which contribute to the development of impaired phonological representations for words. It has been argued that enhancing basic musical rhythm perception skills in children with DD may have a positive effect on reading abilities because music and language share common mechanisms and thus transfer effects from the former to the latter are expected to occur. A computer-assisted training, called Rhythmic Reading Training (RRT), was designed in which reading exercises are combined with rhythm background. Fourteen junior high school students with DD took part to 9 biweekly individual sessions of 30 min in which RRT was implemented. Reading improvements after the intervention period were compared with ones of a matched control group of 14 students with DD who received no intervention. Results indicated that RRT had a positive effect on both reading speed and accuracy and significant effects were found on short pseudo-words reading speed, long pseudo-words reading speed, high frequency long words reading accuracy, and text reading accuracy. No difference in rhythm perception between the intervention and control group were found. Findings suggest that rhythm facilitates the development of reading skill because of the temporal structure it imposes to word decoding.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1510
JournalFrontiers in Psychology
Issue numberOCT
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Auditory processing
  • Developmental dyslexia
  • Intervention
  • Music
  • Reading
  • Rhythm

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)


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