Reading with Expression and Prasody

The focus of this blog is on reading fluency. Reading fluency is the ability to quickly recognize words during the process of reading. It has to do with speed of processing or reading rate. The ability to automatically recognize words frees up space in short term memory for comprehension.

Two terms related to reading fluency need a bit of unpacking: ‘expression’ and ‘prosody’. Reading with expression is included on many academic standards related to reading.

Expression: Unless you are in theater or doing a dramatic reading, has there ever been a time in your adult life when being able to read with expression was important? When reading a book for pleasure or reading this text, has your reading expression ever been a factor in your ability to create meaning with print? Has there ever been an instance in your life when your success in an academic or professional endeavor was dependent on your ability to read with expression? Reading with expression is of little import. Prosody is. Prosody: The term ‘prosody’ is related to reading fluency. It means oral reading that uses the correct timing, emphasis, inflection, and intonation to demonstrate appropriate recognition of phrases and ideas. In other words, prosodic oral reading sounds similar to how one speaks. Unprosodic reading would be choppy, word-by-word reading, done in a robot voice without pauses between sentences. A student reading like this is most likely focusing on correctly sounding out words (decoding) at the expense of creating meaning (reading).

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