Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

A Comparison of the Effects of Two Rates of Listening While Reading on Oral Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

A Comparison of the Effects of Two Rates of Listening While Reading on Oral Reading Fluency and Reading Comprehension

Article excerpt


This study compared the effects of two different listening while reading (LWR) rates on words correct per minute, accuracy, generalization, and comprehension for four 4th- and 5th-graders. It was hypothesized the effects of LWR would increase as the rate of LWR more closely approximated the reader's actual oral reading rate. An alternating treatments design was used to compare the effects of the two rates of LWR. Results indicated that both rates increased words correct per minute and a high level of accuracy was maintained. In addition, generalization to passages where LWR was not employed was evident, but neither intervention had any effect on comprehension. Contrary to what was predicted, the slow rate did not lead to greater improvements on any of the dependent measures and it appears the fast rate may have actually been superior. Limitations, implications, and future directions are discussed.


A large number of students in the U.S. continue to have difficulty learning to read. As a result, numerous interventions have been developed to remediate deficiencies in reading. Some of these interventions focus on increasing comprehension (e.g., Babyak, Koorland, & Mathes, 2000), while others target the fluency of reading (Rose, 1984) in the hope that comprehension will also improve (Sindelar & Stoddard, 1991). Interventions aimed at improving students' fluency, such as Listening While Reading (LWR), have received much empirical support (e.g., Rose, 1984, Rose & Beattie, 1986, Daly & Martens, 1994, Skinner & Shapiro, 1989). As the name implies, LWR is a method that allows a student to read or listen to a passage or list prior to instruction and/or testing.

Early research on the effects of LWR compared the use of silent previewing and listening previewing on the oral reading rate of elementary and junior high students with behavioral disorders and learning disabilities (Rose, 1984; Rose & Beattie, 1986; Rose & Sherry, 1984). In the listening previewing condition in these early studies, students followed along silently as the teacher read the passage at a rate of approximately 130-160 words per minute, prior to the students rereading the passage aloud. In the silent previewing condition, the students were instructed to read the passages silently without a model by the teacher and then reread the passage aloud. Each study's results indicated that both previewing procedures were related to higher reading rates, as measured by words correct per minute, than no previewing. In addition, the listening preview condition produced higher rates of reading than the silent previewing. However, no change in error rates was noted.

In a more recent study, Daly and Martens (1994) compared an audio taped listening passage previewing (LPP) condition, a subject passage previewing (SPP) condition, and a taped words (TW) condition with four elementary students with learning disabilities. The LPP and SPP conditions were the same as described for the studies cited above. The TW condition, however, consists of students listening to an audio recording of a list of words. Passages were read at a rate of 130 words per minute. Results indicated that the LPP intervention produced the largest performance gains. Unlike the other studies, LPP was effective in increasing the subjects' reading accuracy (the percentage of words read correctly in one minute divided by the total number of words read). The authors suggested the strength of LPP was the combination of the modeling plus drill components or the repeated exposures to the passages.

While providing empirical support for this intervention, no consensus on the optimal rate of reading during LWR was evident in these investigations. However, the effects of varying the rates of LWR based on the student's actual oral reading rate have begun to be investigated. Skinner, Cooper, and Cole (1993) compared the effects of two rates (rapid and slow) of oral presentation during LWR with two 12-year-old males. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.