The Relationship Between Reading Comprehension, Prosodic Fluency, and Prosodic Sensitivity in High School Students
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Reading comprehension may be the pinnacle skill in determining the success of a reader. It can be a difficult skill to master due to the amount of processes that affect its mastery. Prosodic fluency, the ability to appropriately produce prosody when reading aloud, and prosodic sensitivity, the ability to detect and utilize prosodic cues from audio sentences, have been shown to correspond with reading comprehension skill (Miller & Schwanenflugel, 2006; 2008). In the current paper we studied high school students with average and below average comprehension skill and measured their prosodic fluency from an imitation task, and their prosodic sensitivity utilizing a visual world paradigm. Sentences contained specific syntactic and semantic manipulations which elicit particular prosodic cues. We found that reading comprehension predicted one sentence type, ambiguous coordinate structures, in both experiments. This construct utilized prosodic phrase boundaries to signal height of attachment. Overall, better reading comprehension skill predicted better prosodic fluency and better accuracy performance. Reading comprehension may influence prosodic fluency and sensitivity, which in turn may affect differences in implicit prosody between poor and average readers.