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Punctuation and Tone of Voice

Date Submitted: 07-Feb-2011
From: Melissa Fabe
Subject: Punctuation and Tone of Voice
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Notice: I teach first grade students to read, and often find that kids who struggle with reading acquisition have trouble understanding how to 'read punctuation'. They have to be explicitly taught what to do with their voices when they encounter a period or comma. Most teachers rely on 'pause for a comma', 'stop for a period', but when you listen to what your voice does when reading, there isn't necessarily a difference in the amount of time that elapses after either a comma or a period. I have found that teaching kids to emphasize the word that falls directly before any punctuation mark is helpful. But it seems as though what the voice actually does before a punctuation mark is tonal, rather than temporal. Can anyone direct me to any work that's been done in this area? Thanks!