Does speech rhythm sensitivity predict children's reading ability 1 year later?

Holliman, Andrew J.; Wood, Clare and Sheehy, Kieron (2010). Does speech rhythm sensitivity predict children's reading ability 1 year later? Journal of Educational Psychology, 102(2) pp. 356–366.



There is a growing literature demonstrating that speech rhythm sensitivity is related to children’s reading
development, independent of phonological awareness. However, the precise nature of this relationship is
less well understood, and further research is warranted to investigate whether speech rhythm sensitivity
predicts the different components of reading over time. In this 1-year longitudinal study, 69 five- to
8-year-old English-speaking children completed a speech rhythm assessment at Time 1 along with other
cognitive assessments and then completed a variety of reading assessments at Time 2 (1 year later). A
series of hierarchical regression analyses revealed that after controlling for individual differences in age,
vocabulary, and phonological awareness, speech rhythm sensitivity was able to predict unique variance
in word reading and the phrasing component of the reading fluency measure 1 year later. The findings
emphasize the contribution of speech rhythm sensitivity in children’s reading development, and the
authors argue that speech rhythm sensitivity should now be included in current models of children’s
reading development.

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