The present research will explore language acquisition through reading and music. While previously a significant amount of studies examined the potential connections that exist between language acquisition and intensive reading, there are a limited amount of studies that explore the link between music and language acquisition. Subsequently, this study will set out to not only draw conclusions regarding whether or not a connection exists between an individual’s reading and vocabulary acquisition, but if a connection exists between listening to music and such comprehension.
As noted, the prevailing research question is the impact of reading and music on language acquisition. Within this spectrum of investigation, the research will further explore a multitude of connecting elements. Among the questions that will be specifically explored in this research include:
1. Whether or not music can improve learners reading comprehension through using it to introduce vocabulary elements?
2. Whether or not using music as a tool to improve vocabulary comprehension is impacted by the participant’s age and/or current reading level?
3. Whether or not listening to different types of music have a tangible impact on the learner’s vocabulary acquisition?
4. Whether merely tacitly listening to music aids in vocabulary acquisition, or if students need to be actively engaged and thinking critically about the music?
5. Whether listening to music while sleeping can be a factor that can enhance vocabulary acquisition will also be explored?
6. Whether or not listening to music for language acquisition enhances already existing instructional material?
7. Is reading faster in developing certain vocabulary skills?
8. Are certain words conveyed more easily through reading or music?
9. Are reading and music combined a better approach than one alone?
10. Does music have limitations in terms of vocabulary acquisition?
11. Does music hinder understanding vocabulary in any ways?
12. What is the best type of music for vocabulary acquisition and the best type of reading?
Type of Study
The study being undertaken will be a 6-month qualitative case study design. The qualitative design method has been chosen over a quantitative method because the current state of the literature on the topic is minimal. Subsequently, the research recognizes that it is necessary to establish a broad based investigation into the potential connections between vocabulary acquisition and reading and listening to music prior to carrying out more detailed quantitative inquiries. Additionally, the qualitative case study approach has been designated because of the convenience associated with the study participant and researcher.
The study participant will be focused solely on one individual, a four-year-old girl. This research participant is the researcher’s daughter. The researcher is one person and this individual will be the only one carrying out the research and evaluating its outcomes.
As noted, the study research design is a qualitative case study. Everyday the researcher will play music for her daughter in different contexts. The researcher will also read to her daughter. The reading will occur before the listening to music. The reading selection and music that are selected will be chosen because they contain vocabulary words that the child is not yet familiar with, yet are age appropriate. The researcher will then evaluate whether or not the music appears to have qualitatively impacted the young girl’s vocabulary acquisition through the young girl incorporating the words into her vocabulary or having increased ease with vocabulary assignments, and whether or not reading has this impact. The researcher will take notes on the different words the girl begins to use and use compare these notes to the vocabulary contained in the song selections. These notes will then be correlated to determine which method is more effective. Specifically, the research will keep these notes in a diary and then transfer them to a word and excel document.
Importance of the Study
Although the study has a number of limitations, this research is important because it will constitute an investigation into the potential connection that music has vocabulary acquisition and this technique’s comparison with reading. This study could point the way forward towards future studies that use more stringent empirical means to investigate the connection. Ultimately, such research could be critical in designating music as an essential tool in improving language learning.