Reading prosody development: Pausing and breathing while reading

Reading prosody development: Pausing and breathing while reading

First Author: Marie-Line Bosse -- LPNC cnrs
Additional authors/chairs: 
Erika Godde; Gérard Bailly
Keywords: Prosody, Reading fluency, Breathing, French
Abstract / Summary: 

Pausing when reading aloud is essential to comprehension of both listeners and readers. This skill evolves from the early stage of reading acquisition to reading expertise. The placement and duration of respiratory pauses tell us about the breath-voice coordination and so the planning when reading aloud. In a developmental perspective, this study aims at describing pausing acquisition from the beginning of reading acquisition to expertise.
We recorded voice and breathing of 2nd graders (N=64), 5th graders (N= 70) and adults (N=20), while reading. We collected the number and duration of pauses, their placement, the number of breathing pauses, their placement and the inhalation-to-phonation delay. Pauses were classified as grammatical or ungrammatical, and linked to punctuation or not.
We observed significant differences of the different parameters among the three groups, except pause duration. The youngest readers tended to pause and breathe more often, and more frequently on an ungrammatical place. Adults tended to uphold punctuation more than children. Concerning breathing, adults had shorter inhalation to phonation delay and their breathing happened more on punctuation sign. This indicates a better planning of breathing.
Learning to breath while reading is mostly implicitly acquired. Young children need to breath often and don’t plan their pauses. The planning of respiratory pauses seems to evolve slowly during acquisition. As pauses seem linked to comprehension (e.g. Arcand, 2014), we suggest that interventions to train reading-breathing coordination would be beneficial for poor readers /poor comprehenders.