Reading and Writing

, Volume 29, Issue 3, pp 371–382 | Cite as

Prosodic and phonemic awareness in children’s reading of long and short words

  • Lesly Wade-Woolley


Phonemic and prosodic awareness are both phonological processes that operate at different levels: the former at the level of the individual sound segment and the latter at the suprasegmental level across syllables. Both have been shown to be related to word reading in young readers. In this study we examine how these processes are differentially related to reading monosyllabic and multisyllabic words. Participants were 110 children in grades four and five who were asked to read monosyllabic and three- and four-syllable words matched for frequency. Phonemic awareness was assessed via a phoneme elision task; prosodic awareness was assessed by a task asking participants to identify the syllable bearing primary stress in a spoken word. Results showed that phonemic and prosodic awareness were independent predictors of short word reading, and both phonological factors made independent contributions to multisyllabic word reading, showing that phonemic and prosodic awareness are complementary but not redundant processes. Only prosodic awareness survived control for simple decoding ability in the reading of long words, suggesting that suprasegmental phonology gives added value to our understanding of reading multisyllabic words.


Prosody Phonemic awareness Word reading Multisyllabic words 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Communication Sciences and DisordersUniversity of South CarolinaColumbiaUSA

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