Prosody refers to the amount of expression used when reading aloud. Prosody consists of the intonation of the voice when the text is being read, the timing the reader gives each sentence, the stress placed on different words and syllables within words and the focus with which the reader reads. Literacy teachers should pay close attention to prosody in young readers because children who have difficulty with prosodic reading may also be having difficulty comprehending what they are reading. There are activities that can be used to improve prosody during reading.
Use readers theater to practice and build fluency. Because there are no costumes or props, the performance relies solely on the reader's ability to convey the meaning of the words to the audience. Prosody improves as children repeatedly rehearse their lines, increasing accuracy and automatic word recognition.
Model prosodic reading for young readers by reading aloud to the children while making sure to demonstrate the proper inflections and expressions in your voice. Model how the text should be read so the children can hear what it sounds like.
Have children listen to popular children's books on tape, which is another form of modeling prosody. After they listen to story, ask the children record themselves reading the story. Having them listen to their own voices will allow them to hear places in their reading where their intonation, timing or stress may be incorrect. Allow them to record the story again to correct their mistakes.
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