Although reading ability has been related to the processing of simple pitch features such as isolated transitions or continuous modulation spoken language also contains complex patterns of pitch changes that are important for establishing stress location and for segmenting the speech stream. These aspects of spoken language processing depend critically on pitch pattern (global structure) rather than on absolute pitch values (local structure). Here we show that the detection of global structure, and not local structure, is predictive of performance on measures of phonological skill and reading ability, which supports a critical importance of pitch contour processing in the acquisition of literacy.
Foxton, J. M., Talcott, J. B., Witton, C., Brace, H., McIntyre, F., & Griffiths, T. D. (2003). Reading skills are related to global, but not local, acoustic pattern perception. Nature Neuroscience, 6(4), 343-344. https://doi.org/10.1038/nn1035