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The Eye-voice Span and Return-sweeps during Oral Reading: Developmental Implications.

Adedeji, V. I.. The Eye-voice Span and Return-sweeps during Oral Reading: Developmental Implications. Doctoral Thesis (Doctoral). Bournemouth University.

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Learning to read begins with connecting the speech sounds and written symbols of a language through overt pronunciation. With time, children blend multiple sounds, starting with reading single words and proceeding to read sentences and passages spanning multiple lines. Although, silent reading is the hallmark of skilled reading, children often read aloud for several years after reading instruction begins. Recent eye movement reading research has focused on silent reading of single line texts with less known about reading passages aloud. Therefore, the present thesis investigated the mechanisms associated with reading multiline texts aloud. The current state of knowledge regarding eye movements during reading was reviewed in Chapter 1. The first experiment in Chapter 2 examined differences between eye movements at line boundaries in oral and silent skilled reading. This experiment revealed greater costs for oral reading across lines compared to reading within lines. This cost was proposed to be associated with the distance the eyes are ahead of the voice (i.e., the eye- voice span; EVS) when making return-sweeps (eye movements that take our gaze from the end of one line to the beginning of the next line). Therefore, the second experiment, presented in Chapter 3, was designed to examine the development of the EVS across grades three, four and five; and probe the sensitivity of the EVS to sub-lexical phonological codes i.e., syllables. Grade five children had larger spans and were more proficient readers, according to assessments of reading skills, than grade four children. Whereas grades three and four children had similar spans and proficiency levels indicating that developmental EVS changes are primarily driven by reading proficiency. In addition, syllable sensitivity was only found in gaze duration but not the EVS. The multiline experimental stimuli presented in Chapter 3 allowed the examination of the modulation of the EVS at line boundaries in Chapter 4. This study confirmed that the greater oral reading cost found in Chapter 2 was related to increased modulation of the EVS by the fixation durations around line boundaries (i.e., before and after the return- sweep saccade). Considering the relationship between reading proficiency and the EVS (Chapter 3) and impact of the EVS on eye movements (Chapter 4), in Chapter 5, we examined reliability and individual differences in the EVS and its modulation. This study showed that the EVS can provide additional information about the reading process which was not captured by the eye movements alone. The typical EVS indicates that the fixated word will likely differ from the articulated word, therefore, the final study in Chapter 6 explored bi-directional lexical effects on articulation and fixation durations. This study revealed that high frequency articulated words reduce fixation times on concurrently fixated words and vice versa. Together, these findings provide a wholistic understanding of children’s reading and shed light on the mechanisms that are responsible for increased oral reading times.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Uncontrolled Keywords:oral reading; eye-voice span; return-sweeps; reading development
Group:Faculty of Science & Technology
ID Code:39446
Deposited By: Symplectic RT2
Deposited On:29 Jan 2024 12:29
Last Modified:29 Jan 2024 12:29


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