Examining the pathways between prosodic awareness and word reading in school-age children across Grades 3 to 6

Examining the pathways between prosodic awareness and word reading in school-age children across Grades 3 to 6

First Author: Jessica S. Chan -- Communication Sciences and Disorders, University of South Carolina
Additional authors/chairs: 
Lesly Wade-Woolley; John R. Kirby
Keywords: Prosody, Word reading, Morphological Awareness, Phonemic Awareness, children
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: The present study examined the relationship between prosodic awareness and English word reading using path analysis. Prosodic awareness refers to children’s awareness of the speech rhythm in oral language. Prior studies have shown unique effects of prosody on reading, and the few studies that have examined the role of prosody on reading using path analysis have focused on early readers. We examined the role of prosody on word reading in the presence of established predictors in children across Grades 3 to 6. The hypothesized relations included a direct relation of prosody on word reading, and indirect relations of prosody on word reading through phonemic awareness and morphological awareness. Age and vocabulary were included as control variables in the path model.

Method: 218 readers (Mage = 10.08 years; SD = 0.96) across Grades 3 to 6 (109 males; 109 females) completed measures of receptive vocabulary, morphological awareness, phonemic awareness, and prosodic awareness. The two prosody tasks measured word-level stress awareness. Word reading outcomes included word identification, word attack, TOWRE sight word efficiency, and TOWRE phonemic decoding efficiency.

Results: The results showed that the hypothesized model had a good model fit. Prosodic awareness was a significant indirect predictor of word reading through morphological awareness. No direct relationship between prosody and phonemic awareness was found. Direct predictors of word reading included phonemic awareness and morphological awareness.

Conclusion: Our results provide additional evidence for the contributory role of prosody to word reading within the network of literacy skills in an older age range.