Part of why many dyslexics have such a hard time with spelling is because there’s a deficit in phonological comprehension. They don’t process spoken language correctly, so when they’re told to spell simple words “the way they sound”, the word ends up incorrect.
This makes sense, because if you can’t differentiate between similar sounds, duh and buh, or th and f, you’ll choose what you think is closest.
When I was in choir in school, the teacher always emphasized how to best shape your mouth to achieve the purest sound possible. She also tutored us on how to properly create consonants, so our audience could understand what we were saying.
I remember she selected a few songs in various languages, and walked us through how to pronounce the words with the mouth-shape method.
For some reason, that idea stuck with me.
It fascinated me how subtle changes in lip and tongue position could create so vastly different sounds. When I studied Japanese, breaking the words down into how they effected my mouth helped me with pronunciation far more than the old “repeat after me” method.
Being able to connect that feeling with what I heard made it easier to understand more of what was being said, too.
It makes me wonder, can singing help with phonological issues? When taught the way our choir teacher taught us, it definitely helped with diction and differentiating between sounds.
Howard Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences model includes musical learning as a specific type of intelligence, and musical therapy has helped people all over the place. There are even Therapy Choirs here and there for people with neurological difficulties.
It wasn’t until I plugged “speech therapy music” into the search engine that I could find anything relating to both music and phonological awareness. In speech therapy, singing and music seems to be very popular. I mean, check out these resources:
If it didn’t help at least some kids, why would there be so many companies popping up?
Since I’ve never had speech therapy, I don’t know first hand how helpful music is in getting the hang of a first language, but I do know using it to learn how to pronounce words in other languages has helped me.
It’d be interesting to see if the act of singing helps improve phonological awareness in dyslexics with that weakness.