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Sociolinguistics from the Periphery

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Academic Paper


Title: Syntactically cued text facilitates oral reading fluency in developing readers
Author: Valerie Marciarille Levasseur
Institution: University of Connecticut
Author: Paul Macaruso
Institution: Haskins Laboratories
Author: Laura Conway Palumbo
Institution: Haskins Laboratories
Author: Donald Shankweiler
Institution: University of Connecticut
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Psycholinguistics; Writing Systems
Abstract: Can fluency in oral reading be facilitated by formatting text to preserve major syntactic boundaries? Seven-, 8-, and 9-year-old children read aloud passages under two text format conditions. In the structure-preserving condition, the ends of lines coincided with ends of clauses; in the phrase-disrupting condition, line breaks always interrupted a phrasal unit. Experiment 1 showed that oral reading fluency, as indexed by skill in phrasal reading, was rated higher when children were reading in the structure-preserving condition. In addition, the structure-preserving condition resulted in significantly fewer false starts at the beginning of lines following a return sweep. The results of Experiment 2, in which texts of varying levels of difficulty were read by slightly older readers, confirmed both findings. Measures of fluency were correlated with other language and reading measures; however, no effects of format were obtained on oral reading rate (words correct per minute). Taken as a whole, these findings indicate a benefit of keeping clausal units intact in promoting fluent reading by facilitating the transition from one line to the next.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN Applied Psycholinguistics Vol. 27, Issue 3, which you can READ on Cambridge's site .



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