Prosody is essential for developing reading fluency (Grabe, 2010; Rasinski, 2012). The goal of this study is to examine whether pausing patterns in reading can be taught to adult ESL learners. Two sections of high-intermediate level college students from East Asia served as experimental and control groups. Pre and post-tests consisted of oral reading, listening and reading comprehension tasks. During the three-week treatment, the experimental group was exposed to 12 short passages with prosodic notations marked on the text to indicate where to pause. They practiced repeated reading for 10 to 15 minutes during every class. The control group read the same passages but without the prosodic notations. A customized Python computer-assisted application tool was used to analyze the student recordings for temporal variables and pausing patterns (Park, 2016). The pre and post-test results show a significant improvement on listening and reading comprehension for the experimental group. For oral reading, although control group’s mean syllables per run was higher, participants in the experimental group were more deliberate with their pauses while reading.
Gavin Lee, Singapore Institute of Management, Singapore