Speaking to reading in english: investigating the relationship between prosody and reading comprehension with year three children

Speaking to reading in english: investigating the relationship between prosody and reading comprehension with year three children

First Author: Sheradan Miller -- Newcastle University
Keywords: Prosody, Reading development, Reading comprehension, children, Primary education
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: This project investigated whether prosody directly impacts children’s reading comprehension ability. We controlled for the key aspects of the Simple View of Reading (SVR), decoding and linguistic comprehension, to assess whether prosody was mediated in its relationship to reading comprehension through these components. We also controlled for a number of subject-level variables. We predicted that prosody would have a significant relationship with the measures of reading comprehension, and this relationship may be strengthened through an association with linguistic comprehension.
Method: We conducted a cross-sectional study with Year 3 children (N=51) from a school in North East England. Prosody was measured using the PEP-C 2015 (Peppé and McCann, 2003). Standardised assessments of reading comprehension, decoding, listening comprehension, phonological awareness, and short-term verbal memory were also administered. Data analysis involved probing for correlations between the tasks, multiple regression analysis to investigate prosody as a predictor of reading comprehension, and mediation analysis to investigate whether the prosody and reading comprehension relationship was mediated by a component of the SVR.
Results: Results showed significant positive correlations between our measure of prosody and both measures of reading comprehension (r = .56 and .55). Preliminary regression analyses suggest prosody is a significant predictor of reading comprehension, even after controlling for the measures of decoding and linguistic comprehension.
Conclusions: This study suggests that prosodic understanding is an important aspect of becoming a self-sufficient meaning-maker as part of reading development. Further research should explore prosody and reading comprehension longitudinally, investigating when prosodic understanding is most beneficial to developing readers.