Capstone/Dissertation Title

Using Adapted Readers' Theatre to Improve Young Adult English Language Learners' Pronunciation of Thought Groups

Term

Summer 8-11-2014

Capstone

Thesis

Degree Name

MAESL

Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair

Colleen Meyers

Secondary Advisor/Reader One

Betsy Parrish

Peer-Reviewer/Reader Two

Sandra Hall

Abstract

The research question addressed was: To what extent can the use of a modified version of Readers' Theatre improve secondary ELs', ages 14-21, use of pausing and prominence to signal thought groups within English speech production? The motivation for this capstone was the level of learners' oral reading and natural speech in the L2 and whether that speech could become more intelligible and comprehensible through explicit suprasegmental instruction and repeated reading experiences that were relevant. The author developed adapted Readers' Theatre scripts and combined their practice with instructional interventions related to the prosodic pronunciation features of pausing and prominence to signal thought groups. Speech sample data was collected pre- and post-instruction cycles and analyzed to reveal that non-native speakers of English could improve their prosodic accuracy. English language learners' speech production more closely matched native speaker English at the end of the study.

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