Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

John Cavenagh, MBA, PhD, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not, “Does musical therapy increase reading ability in children aged 8-10 that are diagnosed with dyslexia?”

STUDY DESIGN: Review of three English language primary studies, published between 2013 and 2016. Articles were selected based on outcomes measured and relevance to the objective.

DATA SOURCES: Two randomized controlled trials (RCTs) and one non-randomized control trial were found using PubMed. These studies analyzed how music training affected the reading ability in children with dyslexia or severe reading impairments.

OUTCOMES MEASURED: Main outcomes assessed were word accuracy measured with the Test of Phonological Awareness, DDE-2 Pseudo Word Reading Test, and MT Text Reading, as well as the speed and quality of reading measured with NEPSY II Battery: Phonemic Fusion Assessment.

RESULTS: All three studies showed statistically significant improvement in the reading abilities of children with reading impairment after a period of musical training. The Cogo-Moreira et al. study showed improvement in phonological awareness, word accuracy, and text accuracy, the study done by Habib et al. displayed an improvement in the speed and quality of reading, and the Flaugnacco et al. study showed the performance in the accuracy of pseudoword reading and the reading of words and text improved greatly.

CONCLUSION: The result of two RCTs and one non-randomized control trial compared the effects of musical therapy on reading ability pre- and post- therapy as well as compared to control groups using alternate therapies such as painting classes showed musical therapy to be an effective tool to improve reading ability in children with dyslexia.