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Soutenance de thèse Erika GODDE

Thesis defence

On 27 November 2020

From automaticity to expressivity and comprehnsion in reading : Assessment and development of reading prosody in young readers

Reading is a crucial learning in primary school. Initially focused on decoding and accuracy during the first years, reading teaching is then based on automaticity and comprehension. Automaticity, often abusively called fluency, is usually assessed by measuring the number of words correctly read in a minute. However this method gives only an assessment of accuracy and automaticity skills, while flluency includes also the abilility to read with apropriate phrasing and expressivity, that means to read with a prosody adapted to the text. Omitting the prosodic dimensions of fluency results in confusion between speed and fluency. Prosodic dimensions of reading have long been neglected in reading studies. Only recently, a few new studies have been interested in reading prosody development in various langages, but not in French. This studies showed a long term development, continuing after primary grades. Moreover several studies also showed a bidirectionnal link between prosodic reading and written comprehension. That’s why the prosodic dimensions of fluency deserve more interest, especially while developping in young readers, to better understand its connection with written comprehension. That is the aim of the present thesis.In our work, we studied the acquisition stages for reading prosody and the link between reading prosody and written comprehension in young readers, from primary to secondary school. For this purpose, we used three complementary assessment methods for reading prosody : a subjective assessment, using a multidimensionnal scale, and two objective assessments : one using acoustic markers and another one, automatic, based on raw speech signal analyses.We recorded 323 children from grade 2 to 7 and 20 adults while reading.Firstly these readings were assessed using a multidimensionnal fluency scale, translated and adapted from English. These scores enabled us to characterize subjectively reading prosody development and to highlight, in French, the link between reading prosody and comprehension, mentionned in various studies.Secondly the readings were analyzed using acoustic markers of prosody. The aim was to determine acquisition stages for pauses and breathing planning while reading. Pauses planification is indeed essential to appropriate phrasing. These data were then used to explore the link between acoustic markers and subjective scoring and have cues of which acoustic markers have an influence on our perception of readings. Then we used the pausing and breathing data to characterize the link between reading prosody and comprehension.Finally we used an automatic scoring tool, based on acoustic markers of prosody and multiple expert standards, to assess longitudinal data from 67 children from grade 2 to 4. Using these data, we built growth model for each dimension of reading fluency and studied the causal link between automaticity, prosody and comprehension.The work presented here, on the development of reading prosody and its link to comprehension in French speaking children, enables us to promote new fluency assessment tools including reading prosody and to consider how to develop training tools. It also gives us new prospect on reading teaching and on identifying and helping children who need reading intervention.

Encadrants :
- Directeur de thèse : Marie-Line BOSSE - (Marie-line[dot]Bosse[at]univ-grenoble-alpes[dot]fr) -
- Codirecteur : Gérard BAILLY - (gerard[dot]bailly[at]gipsa-lab[dot]grenoble-inp[dot]fr)

Keywords: reading, prosody, written comprehension, development,

Read the thesis



On 27 November 2020



01/10/2017 - 27/11/2020

Submitted on 20 November 2023

Updated on 20 November 2023