Volume 42, Issue 2 (2013)
Eye Movements, Prosody, and Word Frequency Among Average- and High-Skilled Second-Grade Readers
Araceli Valle, Katherine S. Binder, Caitlin B. Walsh, Carolyn Nemier, Katheryn E. Bangs
Abstract. The present study explored how average- and high-skilled second-grade readers (as identified by their Woodcock-Johnson III Test of Academic Achievement Broad Reading scores) differed on behavioral measures of reading related to comprehension: eye movements during silent reading and prosody during oral reading. Results from silent reading implicate word processing efficiency: high skilled readers had fewer fixations and intraword regressions, and shorter first fixation, gaze duration, and total word reading times. Their skipping and regression patterns during silent reading were representative of a more systematic approach to passage reading, suggesting that meta-cognitive or motivational factors may also differentiate the groups. Compared to high-skilled readers, average readers’ oral reading was characterized by longer pauses, less differentiation across pause types, and more intrusions. Counter to prior research, aspects of prosody associated with expressivity favored average readers: they had a sharper pitch declination at the end of declarative sentences and used a wider range of pitch within sentences. High- and low-frequency target words yielded frequency effects during both silent and oral reading. Interactions with skill level on the oral reading task are discussed in terms of potential differences in strategic approaches to reading challenges.
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