Exploring the role of prosody in passage reading of experienced and early readers

Weidman, S.K., 2021. Exploring the role of prosody in passage reading of experienced and early readers. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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Abstract

Previous research has consistently demonstrated that individual differences in prosodic competence (i.e., an individual’s sensitivity to and awareness of prosodic cues) are positively associated with reading comprehension (e.g., Chung & Bidelman, 2021; Holliman, Williams, et al., 2014; Lochrin et al., 2015; Veenendaal et al., 2014). It is less clear, however, whether this relationship between prosodic competence and reading comprehension is simply due to the role of prosody in the many lower level skills involved in efficient word reading, or, whether well-developed prosodic competence facilitates reading comprehension at a higher level. Accordingly, one of the hypotheses proposed in this thesis is that prosodic competence facilitates reading comprehension at the passage level by allowing for prosodic passage reading (i.e., the ability to read a passage with appropriate prosody).

This thesis describes three empirical studies designed to examine the concurrent relationships between prosodic competence, prosodic passage reading, and reading comprehension in two samples of participants: experienced readers (adults) and early readers (children ages 7- to 11-years-old). Specifically, analyses were used to investigate (a) whether performance on prosodic competence tasks explained unique variance in passage reading (prosodic reading and comprehension) after accounting for word-level reading skills (e.g., vocabulary, segmental PA, and single word reading), (b) whether prosodic passage reading ability explained unique variance in reading comprehension, after accounting for word-level reading skills, and (c) whether prosodic passage reading ability explained the contribution of prosodic competence to reading comprehension.

Results demonstrated that prosodic competence did not account for additional variance in reading comprehension, after controlling for word-level reading skills in either sample of readers. Consequently, there was no evidence that prosodic passage reading mediated the relationship between prosodic competence and reading comprehension. However, results did reveal that the role of prosody in relation to passage reading was markedly different between experienced and early readers. To illustrate, prosodic competence accounted for unique variance in prosodic passage reading (after accounting for all word-level reading skills), but exclusively in the samples of experienced readers — suggesting that prosodic competence likely facilitates prosodic passage reading, but only after a certain level of reading efficiency has been achieved. On the other hand, prosodic passage reading accounted for unique variance in reading comprehension (after accounting for all word-level reading skills), exclusively in the sample of early readers — suggesting that prosodic passage reading likely acts as a comprehension tool, but only during reading development. Accordingly, I argue that prosody should be integrated into future frameworks of reading comprehension, but that a developmental approach, which considers the changing role of prosody, is necessary. I also maintain that these results support the incorporation of prosodic passage reading in early literacy curricula.

Item Type: Thesis
Description: Abridged version
Creators: Weidman, S.K.
Date: December 2021
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author.
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Laura Ward
Date Added: 04 Jul 2022 08:10
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2022 08:10
URI: http://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/46547

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