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The role of prosody in reading comprehension: evidence from poor comprehenders

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/02/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Research in Reading
Issue number1
Number of pages21
Pages (from-to)37-57
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date16/01/18
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Text reading prosody and reading comprehension are related, but both rely on decoding. The aim of the current study was, therefore, to disentangle the contribution of decoding from that of prosody skills. We examined the performance on text reading prosody and speech prosody in fifth-grade children with age-appropriate decoding but weak comprehension. We compared their performance with that of chronological-age controls and younger, comprehension-level controls. We found that poor comprehenders scored significantly below the chronological-age controls on all prosody tasks. Importantly, poor comprehenders scored below the younger, comprehension-level controls on a speech rhythm task. Furthermore, speech prosody explained unique variance in predicting reading comprehension status (poor comprehender vs comprehension-level control). This suggests that poor comprehenders have a delay in prosodic development, with an additional indication of a deficiency in perception and production of speech prosody. The results show that the relation between text reading prosody and reading comprehension does not exclusively rely on decoding.