Three types of musical instruction: Effects on young Taiwanese EFL learners’ word decoding and rhyme production

Feng-Lan Kuo, Yihsiang Kuo, Yen Hsin Chen, Robert Pierce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study compared effectiveness of song versus chant instruction against a combination of these on word decoding (word reading or sounding out words) and rhyme production among four groups of Taiwanese EFL fourth graders. Three intact classes were randomly assigned to receive one of three musical instruction types: song only, chant only, or combination of song and chant instruction, whereas a fourth (control) group received its regular instruction. The instructional period lasted for five weeks with eighty minutes of instruction per week. Researcher-developed sight word decoding and rhyme production tests rated each type of musical instruction. Decoding results for sight words and all words (sight words plus non-words) showed that: (a) three experimental groups (Song, Chant, S + C) not only made significant progress but also remarkably outperformed the Control Group on the decoding posttest; (b) the S + C Group significantly outperformed the Chant Group on decoding posttest; (c) non-significant differences emerged between the Chant Group and other experimental groups. Rhyme production posttest scores regarding real words and all words (real words plus non-words) indicated: (a) all groups significantly progressed in rhyme production; (b) three experimental groups significantly excelled the Control Group; (c) non-significant differences arose among experimental groups. ANOVA results of non-word scores on both decoding and rhyme production posttests revealed nonsignificant differences among four groups. Ranking of four groups’ gain scores (posttest minus pretest) across decoding and rhyme production is consistent: S + C > Song > Chant > Control. Four educational implications and several suggestions for future research are provided based on results of this study.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-269
Number of pages15
JournalElectronic Journal of Foreign Language Teaching
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Dec 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language

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