Examining the independent contribution of prosodic sensitivity to word reading and spelling in early readers

Andrew J. Holliman, N. Gutiérrez Palma, Sarah Critten, Clare Wood, Helen Cunnane, Claire Pillinger

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24 Citations (Scopus)
89 Downloads (Pure)


This study was designed to examine the independent contribution of prosodic sensitivity—the rhythmic patterning of speech—to word reading and spelling in a sample of early readers. Ninety-three English-speaking children aged 5–6 years old (M = 69.28 months, SD = 3.67) were assessed for their prosodic sensitivity, vocabulary knowledge, phonological, and morphological awareness (predictor variables) along with their word reading and spelling (criterion variables). Bivariate (zero-order) correlation analyses revealed that prosodic sensitivity was significantly associated with all other variables in this study. Hierarchical regression analyses revealed that after controlling for individual differences in vocabulary, phonological, and morphological awareness, prosodic sensitivity was still able to explain unique variance in word reading, but was unable to make an independent contribution to spelling. The findings suggest that prosodic sensitivity gives added value to our understanding of children’s reading development.

Publisher Statement: The final publication is available at Springer via http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11145-016-9687-z
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)509-521
Number of pages23
JournalReading and Writing
Issue number3
Early online date22 Sept 2016
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017


  • Prosody
  • Vocabulary
  • Phonology
  • Morphology
  • Reading
  • Spelling


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