Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Research Byte: Potential implications of performance on the WJ IV Oral Reading test in word reading and reading comprehension--indirect mediated effect of prosody

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The WJ IV Achievement test battery includes a new reading test (Oral Reading) that contributes to the Reading Fluency cluster.  It is a measure of oral reading skill (story reading accuracy and prosody).  Briefly, prosody, in reading, refers to the expressiveness with which a student reads.  Why?  Because, fluent readers must be accurate readers.  The Oral Reading tests is a measure of fluency of oral expression in connected discourse. Fluent reading of the passages requires attention to the grammatical structure of prose. 
The recent study noted above may be relevant to the interpretation of the Oral Reading test.  This study suggests that prosody (prosodic sensitivity) does not have a direct causal effect on word reading or reading comprehension.  Rather, prosodic sensitivity may have an indirect impact on word reading via the mediating abilities of phonological and morphological awareness and an indirect impact on reading comprehension via word reading and listening comprehension.
This study suggests that the WJ IV phonological awareness tests (Phonetic Coding cluster; Oral Language tests of Segmentation and Sound Blending) should receive special attention when interpreting the impact of prosody (Oral Reading test) on the WJ IV Letter-Word Identification test (word reading).  In the case of performance on the WJ IV reading comprehension tests, the study suggests that special attention should be paid attention to prosody (Oral Reading) as mediated through a person's word reading (Letter-Word Identification) and listening comprehension (WJ IV Listening Comprehension cluster tests).

Conflict of interest disclosure.  I am a coauthor of the WJ IV.

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