How to Develop Prosody in Reading

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  • 0:04 What Is Prosody?
  • 0:56 Speaking With Prosody
  • 1:33 Reader's Theater
  • 2:19 Talking Punctuation Marks
  • 2:53 Chants, Nursery Rhymes…
  • 3:29 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Prosody is an important part of fluency in reading. This lesson will help you understand more about what prosody is, as well as how to help your students develop it.

What Is Prosody?

Liza is a mother to a rising second-grader, and she's very proud of all of the growth her son made as a reader during his first-grade year. He has grown at decoding, or sounding out the words on the page. He has also become very good at comprehension, or understanding what he has read. However, his first-grade teacher recommended to Liza that it might be wise to help him with his prosody over the summer.

Eager to help her son, Liza has done some research and learned that prosody refers to the mixture of fluency and expression. Readers who read with prosody sound fluid, natural, and full of emotion that matches up the intentions of the author. Now that she understands what prosody is all about, she can see her son is missing it. Even when he reads accurately, he sounds sort of like a robot! Liza figures out some ways that she can help her son develop, and she knows teachers can use these strategies, too.

Speaking With Prosody

Liza learns that the first step to reading with prosody is actually learning to speak with prosody. This might seem obvious, but it is the case that all people speak with different levels of expression. Liza explains to her son that for about a week, they're going to concentrate on speaking with as much expression as possible. They even work on overemphasizing some of their emotions and intonations.

As they move through the week, speaking with a great deal of expression and emphasis, they share a lot of good laughs! Even though it seems funny, Liza sees her son becoming more aware of language and the way it can be expressive. She begins to see this understanding transfer to his reading.

Reader's Theater

Speaking to a friend who is a teacher, Liza learns about reader's theater. In reader's theater, readers speak the lines of a story as though they're reading a script of a play. There are various free resources available on the Internet and in textbooks to do reader's theater with children. Acting out stories causes readers to work on their expression. They become focused on doing a good job acting, and their prosody takes off.

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