Most good teachers (and parents for that matter) have always known and taught, the importance of being able to read out loud, especially to an adult. This adult can then invest some time in gently guiding the excited new reader to ‘harder’ books.
One of the most effective ‘yardsticks’ for parents to measure the competency of an early reader (can be as young as four or five but usually around Year 1 or age 7), is their fluency, rhythm, intonation, timing, phrasing, etc. In other words what they ‘sound’ like when transferring information from the page to the brain, with context and meaning.
The mechanics and linguistic study of this very important process and skill is called prosody.
What is Prosody?
Within this context, prosody can reflect linguistic features, such as sentence structure, as well as text features, such as punctuation. Skilled readers pick up on these features, and respond to them when reading aloud, as when they pause briefly at relevant commas, pause slightly longer at sentence boundaries, raise their pitch at the end of yes-no questions, and lower their pitch at the end of declarative sentences.
How Prosody Improves Reading and Comprehension
This skill development can often be arbitrary, relying on a plethora of skills that coalesce to not only increase reading skills but increase them through the use of mouth, tongue, and ears. This somatic reading experience is the gateway to better reading (both silent and oral). It is also one of the single biggest catalysts to improving the comprehension rate and accuracy of the reader. In other words, they actually remember so much more, rather than simply focus on the decoding.
Usually the beginnings of a life-long reader.