GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. - 215 classrooms across West Michigan have implemented a new program.

"Music is part of our human fabric," said Dr. Monique Salinas, creator and director of Mind Meets Music. "I worked in church music for 25 years."

The 5,000 students in the program sometimes even realize they're learning.

"Music is a medium that children naturally love, that people naturally love," said Dr. Salinas.

With an entire career dedicated to education. Dr. Salinas saw a problem she knew she could do something about.

"If they don’t have the very strong reading skills by third grade they’re academic career is more challenging," said Dr. Salinas.

Five years ago she created Mind Meets Music.

"I came up with a program that combined a Hungarian music methodology and a Swiss movement methodology," said Dr. Salinas.

She’s recruited certified teachers to lead students through the program. Ruth Nelson has been a classroom teacher for 17 years.

"It really enhances their relational skills with each other as well," said Nelson.

"The area of the brain that is influenced by literacy is the same part of the brain that’s effected by music," said Dr. Salinas. "When you strengthen the skills in music you strengthen the skills in literacy."

"Then there is an intentional movement to music," said Nelson.

The teachers say Mind Meets Music is really bridging a gap. "They’re learning how to build the skills toward dictation." said Nelson.

The program has proved successful in its short tenure.

Mind Meets Music recently received their second year test scores. Students who’ve been in the program have increased their reading test proficiency skills by 33% over the baseline, and 52% over the baseline in math.

For more information on Mind Meets Music, click here.

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