The purpose of the current study was to explore the relationship between prosody, which is the expressive quality of reading out loud, and reading comprehension in adults with low literacy skills compared to skilled readers. All participants read a passage orally, and we extracted prosodic measures from the recordings. We examined pitch changes and how long readers paused at various points while reading. Finally, for the adults with low literacy skills, we collected information on decoding, word recognition, and reading comprehension. We found several interesting results. First, adults with low literacy skills paused longer than skilled readers and paused at a substantially greater number of punctuation marks. Second, while adults with low literacy skills do mark the end of declarative sentences with a pitch declination similar to skilled readers, their readings of questions lack a change in pitch. Third, decoding and word recognition skills were related to pauses while reading; readers with lower skills made longer and more frequent and inappropriate pauses. Finally, pausing measures explained a significant amount of variance in reading comprehension among the adults with low literacy skills.
Reading and Writing – Springer Journals
Published: May 24, 2012
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