Mothers use prosody to engage children during book reading. Thus, prosody may contribute to children's literacy. The purpose of this study was to describe how twenty-five mothers across children's age groups (6-month olds, 12-month-olds, 18-month-olds, 24-month-olds, and 4-year-olds) used prosody, specifically pitch and stress variations, while reading with their children. Common speech samples from the readings of two different texts (narrative and expository) were analyzed. In addition, the mothers were questioned about their use of expressive language while reading. Patterns from the data showed that the mothers of the 6-month-olds did not vary their speech as often. They used the book reading event to teach basic book reading concepts and to play. The narrative text showed the use of more expressive language. The mothers' intent was to guide children's understanding of the complexities of the story. All the mothers used pitch and stress in conjunction with other book reading strategies to scaffold the texts for their children.
Martin, L. E. (1999). Mothers' prosodie features: Strategies to guide young children's understanding of book language. Reading Horizons, 40 (2). Retrieved from http://scholarworks.wmich.edu/reading_horizons/vol40/iss2/3