Modeling the relationship between prosodic sensitivity and early literacy

Andrew Holliman, Sarah Critten, Tony Lawrence, Emily Harrison, Clare Wood, David J. Hughes

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    33 Citations (Scopus)
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    A growing literature has demonstrated that prosodic sensitivity is related to early literacy development; however, the precise nature of this relationship remains unclear. It has been speculated in recent theoretical models that the observed relationship between prosodic sensitivity and early literacy might be partially mediated by children's vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, and morphological awareness, although such models have yet to be confirmed using advanced statistical techniques. The study reported here uses covariance structure modeling to provide the first direct test of the model proposed by Wood, Wade-Woolley, and Holliman. We also test a modified version of this model that was designed to overcome some of the limitations in the original. Seventy-five 5-7-year-old English-speaking children completed a new measure of prosodic sensitivity and were also assessed for their vocabulary knowledge, phonological awareness, morphological awareness, word reading, and spelling. The results showed that Wood et al.'s model did not provide an adequate fit to our sample data; however, the new model, which permitted causal connections between the so-called mediator variables, provided an excellent fit. We argue that prosodic sensitivity should be afforded greater importance in models of literacy development, and offer a new theoretical model of the prosody-literacy relationship for future attempts at replication.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)469-482
    JournalReading Research Quarterly
    Issue number4
    Early online date31 Jul 2014
    Publication statusPublished - 2014

    Bibliographical note

    This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited and is not used for commercial purposes. See for full terms and conditions.


    • assessment
    • standardized
    • decoding
    • morphemic analysis
    • sight words
    • word recognition
    • fluency
    • prosody
    • language learners
    • linguistics
    • oral language
    • receptive language
    • phonics
    • phonemic awareness
    • phonological awareness
    • analogy
    • analytic
    • explicit
    • implicit
    • spelling
    • research methodology
    • scientific
    • theoretical perspectives
    • cognitive
    • developmental
    • vocabulary
    • general vocabulary
    • morphology
    • writing
    • early childhood
    • childhood


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