Prosodic sensitivity and word reading in grade 1

Prosodic sensitivity and word reading in grade 1

First Author: Alexandra Ryken -- Dalhousie University
Additional authors/chairs: 
Lesly Wade-Woolley; S. Hélène Deacon
Keywords: Prosody, Word reading, Elementary
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose:
Research has demonstrated links between awareness of speech rhythm, called prosodic sensitivity, and word reading. However, prosodic sensitivity is multi-dimensional and it is not clear which aspects of prosodic sensitivity are related to word reading. This study investigated three aspects of prosodic sensitivity and their relation to word reading.

Method:
337 English-speaking grade 1 students were tested as part of the first year of a larger longitudinal study. Word reading and three aspects of prosodic sensitivity were assessed: awareness of word stress, awareness of phrase stress, and awareness of intonation. Phonological awareness, nonverbal ability, and vocabulary were also included as control variables.

Results:
Awareness of word stress was significantly related to word reading after controls. Awareness of phrase stress and awareness of intonation were not significantly related to word reading after controls.

Conclusions:
This study found that only awareness of word stress is related to word reading in English-speaking Grade 1 children. Other aspects of prosodic sensitivity were not. This suggests that relations between prosodic sensitivity and reading depend on which aspect of prosodic sensitivity is being measured. Prosodic sensitivity may be a collection of skills rather than a single skill, and these skills may be differentially related to reading.