Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Using Peer-Mediated Repeated Readings as a Fluency-Building Activity for Urban Learners

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Using Peer-Mediated Repeated Readings as a Fluency-Building Activity for Urban Learners

Article excerpt

Abstract

We conducted three experiments examining the effects of peer-mediated repeated readings on students' oral reading fluency and comprehension. Each repeated reading session consisted of students reading in pairs, alternating paragraphs, for 10 minutes. Students used a scripted correction procedure when errors occurred. Students then participated in a 1-minute timed trial, which was scored for number of words read and number of errors. Comprehension was assessed when students reached fluency (180 WPM and 10 or fewer errors). Dependent variables were number of words read in 1 minute, reading accuracy, and correct comprehension responses. Experiments 2 and 3 extended the findings of Experiment 1 by implementing the procedure with students in different grade levels (3rd and 4th grade), in different formats (total class and pull-out), and including generalization data. Results indicated that peer-mediated repeated reading improved students' oral reading rate, reading accuracy, and comprehension.

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The National Reading Panel (NRP, 2000) cited the components of reading and literacy education as (a) alphabetics, the knowledge that letters make up words; (b) fluency, the ability to read with speed and accuracy; and (c) comprehension, acquiring meaning from text. Although reading comprehension and knowledge of the alphabetic principle are widely recognized as essential to the reading process, the goal of fluent oral and silent reading is frequently overlooked as a necessary part of reading instruction. This may be partially due to the fact that fluent reading is often considered a result of other types of reading instruction and not something to be taught directly (Fuchs et al., 2001a). However, the NRP (2000) found that nearly 44% of fourth-grade students do not read with sufficient speed and accuracy, and that these deficits may contribute to diminished comprehension. As a result, the NRP specifically recommends that fluency instruction become an explicit component of the reading curriculum.

Fluency consists of reading text with accuracy, speed, and proper expression, and it is a preliminary and imperative step in the process of reading comprehension (NRP, 2000). Samuels (1979) described the fundamental link between oral reading fluency and increased comprehension by explaining that students who can read text fluently without halting or stopping to decode words can attend to comprehension more fully without dividing attention between meaning and decoding. Although there are a variety of methods to improve students' fluency and comprehension skills, not all of these practices are equally effective. For example, the NRP (2000) analyzed two basic reading approaches: one that consists of oral reading strategies such as repeated reading, which is a fluency-building activity that consists of reading a short, meaningful passage several times (Samuels, 1979), and another approach in which the learner is simply encouraged to read more such as sustained silent reading models (SSR). In a meta-analysis of the research on the two approaches, the NRP reported clear evidence that the oral reading methods such as repeated readings led to improvement in reading fluency as well as overall performance. Furthermore, the data showed positive effects for a variety of students across a wide range of age and ability levels. The NRP, however, failed to find similar evidence for approaches, such as SSR.

In repeated reading practice a fluency criterion (e.g., 145 correct words per minute and fewer than 10 errors) is set and a passage of text is selected. The student reads and rereads the passage until the fluency criterion is achieved and then the process is repeated with a new passage. Basic findings suggest that repeated reading increases students' oral reading rate and comprehension (Dowhower, 1989; O'Shea, Sindelar, & O'Shea, 1987). For example, Eckert, Ardoin, Daly, and Martens (2002) investigated the effects of passage preview and repeated reading methods on students' oral reading. …

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