• If you are citizen of an European Union member nation, you may not use this service unless you are at least 16 years old.

  • Get control of your email attachments. Connect all your Gmail accounts and in less than 2 minutes, Dokkio will automatically organize your file attachments. You can also connect Dokkio to Drive, Dropbox, and Slack. Sign up for free.


Inflection and Prosody as a function of Fluency

Page history last edited by PBworks 12 years, 8 months ago

Inflection and Prosody as a Function of Fluency


By DellaMcGuire and CameronVenuti




I. Introduction

II. Research

III. Summary

IV. References



I. Introduction


Prosodic reading is reading with expression that mirrors natural, conversational, oral speech. Learning prosody takes practice and explicit instruction as the skill is seldom naturally acquired by beginning readers. Elements of prosody include: pitch (intonation), stress (loudness), and duration (timing). Phrasing and rhythm are also significant to reading with prosody (Dowhower, 1991). Reading with appropriate expression is important as students are better able to comprehend the text when read smoothly and with few interruptions. Rereading, segmenting, and modeling are the keys to teaching prosody and all of these are best developed with practice, while ignoring these strategies would result in continued manifestations of poor reading fluency.


II. Review of Research


The most important teaching strategies to develop strong prosodic readers is text segmenting, repeated reading, and modeling of prosody by parents, teachers or other professionals (Dowhower, 1991). Dowhower (1991) describes in detail several indicators of reading with good prosody such as: pausal intrusions, length of phrases, appropriateness of phrases, final phrase lengthening, terminal intonation contours and stress.


Proper text segmenting can be taught with explicit instruction using the text manipulation stages (Dowhower, 1991). Segmenting can be practiced with rhythm walks. The teacher selects a brief text on the students' independent reading level, writes the segmented phrases on long strips of paper and places them on the floor in order a step away from each other. The teacher walks along the path first to model the appropriate rhythm and then the students walk through the lines while reading each phrase. The fluid movement translates well into the flow of prosodic reading (Peebles, 2007). After several walk throughs, students then return to the original text more prepared to read with good phrasing and intonation.


Rereading for performance improves student motivation as repetition translates into rehearsal through reader’s theatre. Rosalind Flynn, an educational drama specialist, coaches teachers on how to incorporate reader’s theatre across the curriculum and ways to develop original scripts from literature. Flynn emphasizes using informational text, as well as literature or short stories, to expand the effects of reader’s theatre into curriculum content areas, thereby improving performance on subject area tests through practice and performance (Flynn, 2004, Griffith, et. al., 2004, Keehn, 2003 and Rasinski, 2006).


One study used a variation of reader’s theatre involving shadow puppets created on an overhead projector and resulted in similar fluency gains as traditional reader’s theatre. The material was adapted by the students from curriculum content areas. The second grade students were tested on both the process and the product so that their involvement was indicative of their improvement in fluency (Peck, et. al., 2006). The puppet aspect of this variation was helpful for those shy students who were able to perform without being seen.


Fluency improvement was higher in a group of struggling second graders using flexible small group instruction with repeated reading of the same text than when scaffolded instruction was used alone (Kuhn, 2004). The study found that students seemed to improve their comprehension and fluency of text based on their perception of the purpose of the study. Students using echo and choral readings from a wide range of texts dealing with the same subject tended to demonstrate improved prosody and comprehension. Those who thought their word recognition and automaticity was the focus, because the treatment involved oral repeated reading of the same text, fared better in fluency than either the control group or the students whose instruction was scaffolded (Kuhn, 2004). For both the wide-reading and repeated reading groups in this study, modeling, practice, and feedback were important components to the success of students.


Audio tapes of popular children's books are a successful method of modeling prosodic reading. Student created audio books are even more effective as a method for practicing good fluency. Books on Tape for Kids is a community outreach project that collects audio tapes of students rehearsed readings over time to show their prosodic progress. They now have several titles and a website devoted to the project which gets students involved in self monitoring their prosodic reading for a quality product (Sangiuliano, 2005). Additionally, student involvement in the selection, phrasing, and prosody of text to be used for the creation of audio-recordings improves motivation and strategies for fluency, as well as positively impacting the retention of content curriculum being taught (Flynn, 2004).



III. Summary and Classroom Implications


One common element within the research on prosody is rehearsal rereading generally for public performance. This kind of practicing is helpful for prosody and inflection in fluency. The added element of putting on a show for an audience especially encourages excellence and improves student engagement and motivation. Students do not want to risk the embarrassment of a poor performance and are thus more motivated to do well (Rasinski, 2006). The strategies for classroom instruction represent the techniques used in the studies described above. "Reading with prosody" means infusing emotional expression in a conversational style while oral reading. The best methods of instruction are modeling, phrasing and practice. The goal of the effective use of prosody by readers is improved fluency, which contributes to improved comprehension (Flynn, 2004, Griffith, et. al., 2004, Keehn, 2003 and Rasinski, 2006).



IV. References


Relevant Books


Dramatizing the Content With Curriculum-Based Readers Theatre, Grades 6–12

Rosalind M. Flynn



Books on Tape for Kids: A Language Arts–Based Service-Learning Project

Gino Sangiuliano



Foundational Articles


Dowhower, S. L. Speaking of prosody: Fluency’s unattended bedfellow. Theory into Practice. Oxford: Summer, 1991. Vol XXX, Iss. 3, 165-175.



Flynn, R.M. Collaborating With Students on an Original Script. In Dramatizing the Content With Curriculum-Based Readers Theatre, Grades 6–12 (pp. 26-43). Newark, DE: 2007. International Reading Association.



Flynn, R.M. (2004, December). Curriculum-based Readers Theatre: Setting the Stage for Reading and Retention. The Reading Teacher, 58(4), 360–365.



Griffith, L. W., Rasinski, T.V.. A focus on fluency: How one teacher incorporated fluency with her reading curriculum. The Reading Teacher. Newark: Oct 2004. Vol. 58, Iss. 2; 126



Keehn, S. The Effect of Instruction and Practice Through Readers Theatre on Young Readers' Oral Reading Fluency. Reading Research and Instruction. Coral Gables: Summer 2003. Vol. 42, Iss. 4; 40 - 62



Kuhn, M. Helping students become accurate, expressive readers: Fluency instruction for small groups. The Reading Teacher. Newark: Dec 04/Jan 05. Vol. 58, Iss. 4; 338



Martinez, M., Roser, N. L., Strecker, S. "I never thought I could be a star": A Readers Theatre ticket to fluency. The Reading Teacher. Newark: Dec 1998/Jan 1999. Vol. 52, Iss. 4; 326



Peck, S.M., Virkler, A.J. Reading in the shadows: Extending literacy skills through shadow-puppet theater. The Reading Teacher. Newark: May 2006. Vol. 59, Iss. 8; 786–795.



Peebles, J.L. Incorporating movement with fluency instruction: A motivation for struggling readers. The Reading Teacher. Newark: Mar 2007. Vol. 60, Iss. 6; 578–581.



Rasinski, T. V.. Reading fluency instruction: Moving beyond accuracy, automaticity, and prosody. The Reading Teacher. Newark: Apr 2006. Vol. 59, Iss. 7; 704



Sangiuliano, G. (2005). Books on Tape for Kids: A Language Arts–Based Service-Learning Project. In R.A. Karchmer, M.H. Mallette, J. Kara-Soteriou, & D.J. Leu, Jr. (Eds.), Innovative Approaches to Literacy Education (pp. 13-27). Newark, DE: International Reading Association.



Comments (4)

Anonymous said

at 11:49 am on Dec 15, 2007

Della and Cameron,
Your information about prosody, influenced me to incorporate readers theatre into my small group instruction in order to develop prosody and increase fluency. The students became more engaged and enjoyed reading parts of the play. A website that would be helpful to add to your research which is a prosody resource and also available in a book is http://www.trobar.org/prosody/.

Anonymous said

at 7:45 pm on Dec 16, 2007

I like how your research encompasses the rereading of text. Not only readers theatre but it can also be used with the every day text from the classroom. With a little effort from the teacher any text can become a reread for presentation.
This link has some beneficial sites for incorporating them into the classroom. http://apps.reading.org/search/svc/submitquery

Anonymous said

at 10:38 pm on Dec 16, 2007

Your information about how to implement fluency instruction is very informative. The Dec.2007/January 2008 edition of The Reading Teacher has an article that you may find useful because it pertains to fluency. It is called Story Innovation: An Instructional Strategy for Developing Vocabulary and Fluency. The authors, P.L Griffith and J. Ruan revisit an instructional strategy that reuses a known text that has vocabulary substitutions as a text for rereading in primary classrooms.

Anonymous said

at 5:12 pm on Dec 17, 2007

Della and Cameron,
Your paper on inflection and prosody made me think how much meaning is conveyed simply by the way we read or say something. I know students who comprehend very well but their oral reading is choppy almost like they do not know where they should be stopping to breathe or pause. I think this is a skill our students begin learning at an early age, but I am not sure it is modeled or taught very well after first or second grade.

You don't have permission to comment on this page.