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Journal Articles Reading and Writing Year : 2022

Pausing and Breathing while Reading Aloud : Development from 2nd to 7th grade


Pauses when reading aloud play an essential role in reading and listening comprehension. Among the various types of pauses, breathing pauses during oral reading are particularly essential. Their placement, frequency and duration tell us about breath and voice coordination as well as articulatory planning. These skills that develop over time, from the early stages of reading acquisition to skilled reading levels, are under-researched. The present study aims to describe how children develop the ability to use pauses during oral reading by comparing younger French speaking learners ranging from second to seventh graders to adults. Voice and breathing patterns of 295 children and 20 adults were recorded during oral reading. Specific focus was given to the frequency, duration and placement of breathing pauses and inhalation to phonation delay. Our results revealed that the youngest students took more ungrammatical pauses, breathed more frequently and produced longer inhalation to phonation delays. Children older than grade 4 were visibly more proficient at planning their pauses, particularly their breathing pauses, and tended to rely more on punctuation. Finally, pause planning observed for the grade 7 students was almost at the adult level. This developmental study suggests that children's acquisition of pausing patterns during oral reading can effectively be described in four steps that occur between the 2 nd and 7 th grades, and highlights the important role punctuation plays in planning breathing pauses and syntactic-prosodic breaks.
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hal-02954071 , version 1 (30-09-2020)


Attribution - CC BY 4.0



Erika Godde, Marie-Line Bosse, Gérard Bailly. Pausing and Breathing while Reading Aloud : Development from 2nd to 7th grade. Reading and Writing, 2022, 35, pp.1-27. ⟨10.1007/s11145-021-10168-z⟩. ⟨hal-02954071⟩
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