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Volume 10 Number 2, Summer 2013, Pages 1-148   

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The Roles of Phonological Knowledge in L2 Lower Achievers' Reading Development

    Chen, Hsueh Chu

This study investigates the role of phonological knowledge in the reading development of learners and clarifies the relationships among phonological awareness (PA), prosodic skills (PS) and reading comprehension (RC). Sixteen English as a second language (ESL) lower achievers from a Hong Kong secondary school participated in the study. Three types of related measures (PA, PS and RC) were conducted. A passage was read aloud and an acoustic analysis was conducted. The results showed that the correct rate of RC was 38.16 %. Among the PA subtasks, rhyme detection was the easiest task, followed by alliteration detection, syllable segmentation, and non-word reading. In the PS subtasks, phrasal rhythm was the easiest task, followed by intonation sensitivity, and word stress tasks. The tasks that correlated highest with RC were non-word reading and word stress tasks, suggesting that these two indicators played a major role in RC. Amongst all of the tasks, rhythm detection and syllable segmentation, and phrasal rhythm and word stress were significantly and positively correlated. Detailed information about the participants' responses and strategies on non-word reading, word stress, and intonation sensitivity tasks was described. Acoustic analyses of speed, pause and intonation were made, measured and calculated.

Keywords: phonological processing, prosodic sensitivity, reading, reading aloud, production and perception