Reading Prosody Unpacked: A Longitudinal Investigation of Its Dimensionality and Relation With Word Reading and Listening Comprehension for Children in Primary Grades.

April 1, 2021

Kim, Y. S. G., Quinn, J. M., & Petscher, Y. (2021). Reading prosody unpacked: A longitudinal investigation of its dimensionality and relation with word reading and listening comprehension for children in primary grades. Journal of Educational Psychology113(3), 423.


We investigated the dimensionality of various indicators of reading prosody, and the relations of word reading and listening comprehension to the identified dimension(s) of reading prosody, using longitudinal data from Grades 1 to 3. A total of 371 English-speaking children were assessed on oral text reading, word reading, and listening comprehension in the fall and spring of each year (i.e., 6 waves of data). From oral text reading, reading prosody was evaluated on pause structures (pause duration, pause frequency) and pitch (intonation contour, F₀ change) using spectrographic analysis, and on expressiveness, smoothness, phrasing, and pacing using the Multi-Dimensional Fluency Scale (MFS). A bifactor structure described the data best across the 6 waves, composed of (a) a ratings and pause general factor, which captured common variance among MFS, pause frequency, and pause duration; (b) ratings (MFS) and pause specific factors, which captured variance over and above the ratings and pause general factor; and (c) a separate pitch factor, which captured variance in intonation contour and F0 change. Word reading and listening comprehension were related to the identified dimensions of reading prosody, but when they were in a model together, word reading, not listening comprehension, was uniquely related to reading prosody across the six waves. These results indicate that reading prosody is multidimensional and that a pitch factor is a dissociable skill from the general ratings and pause prosody. Furthermore, word reading is the primary driver for the development of various dimensions of reading prosody, at least for children in primary grades. (PsycInfo Database Record (c) 2021 APA, all rights reserved)

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