Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Effects of a Supplementary Computerized Fluency Intervention on the Generalization of the Oral Reading Fluency and Comprehension of First-Grade Students

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

The Effects of a Supplementary Computerized Fluency Intervention on the Generalization of the Oral Reading Fluency and Comprehension of First-Grade Students

Article excerpt


The current study investigated the effects of a repeated reading intervention on the oral reading fluency (ORF) and comprehension on generalization passages for eight, first-grade students with reading risk. The intervention involved a commercial computerized program (Read Naturally Software Edition [RNSE], 2009) and a generalization principle requiring a "greater magnitude" of responding. A multiple probe experimental design with two treatment phases was used to determine the effects of the intervention. Phase I used a standard end-of-year benchmark score (i.e., 40 CWMP) as fluency criteria for all participants. During Phase II, fluency criteria were changed and individualized for each participant based on performance during Phase I. Data were collected on ORF and word retell fluency (WRF) across treatment and generalization probes. Results showed ORF and comprehension increases in both phases; however, satisfactory generalization did not occur for most of the participants until the second phase was implemented. These results are discussed relative to classroom implications and directions for future research.

Reading is probably the most important academic skill because it is the basis on which many other academic activities are built (Flanagan, West, & Walston, 2004; Lyon, 1998; 2003). There is evidence that students who fail to acquire adequate reading skills during early primary grades are much more likely to experience chronic difficulties in school (Alexander, Entwisle, & Horsey, 1997; McIntosh, Flannery, Sugai, Braun, & Cockrane, 2008; Simner & Barnes, 1991). Considering what is at stake, it is particularly important to help young readers acquire critical reading skills such as reading fluency. Reading fluency is defined as the ability to read connected text with speed, accuracy, and proper expression (Bursuck & Darner, 2011). This skill is of critical importance because it is positively correlated with reading comprehension (Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp, & Jenkins, 2001; Martens et al., 2007; Reis et al., 2007), and is based on the idea that students who read fluently are much more likely to concentrate on the meaning of the text rather than on the pronunciation of specific words.

A way to assess a student's proficiency in reading fluency is by measuring the rate at which he/she reads connected text passages out loud. This measure is referred to as oral reading fluency (ORF) and rates are typically measured using novel or unfamiliar text passages during one-minute timed tests. Interventions for increasing oral reading fluency appear to favor repeated reading instruction (National Institute of Child Health and Human Development [NICHD], 2000), which entails repeatedly reading the same passage smoothly and accurately to meet a specified criterion (e.g., 40 correct words per minute).

Recent research examining ORF instruction focused on the beneficial effects of multi-component strategies (Lo, Cooke, & Starling, 2011; Martens et al., 2007). These strategies allow researchers to implement and study the different instructional strategies used to increase reading fluency. For example, Lo et at. (2011) effectively used an eight-component strategy to increase the ORF of three second-grade students who struggled in reading. Each component was designed to address and strengthen deficits in reading fluency. The current study also used a multi-component strategy to increase the ORF of first grade students.

In addition the type of strategies used to increase ORF another important focus has been on generalization (Ardoin, Eckert, & Cole, 2008; Ardoin, McCall, & Klubnik, 2007; Begeny, Daly Ill & Valleley, 2006; Martens, et al., 2007; Silber & Martens, 2010). There are a number of ways to promote generalization but use of multiple exemplars as described by Stokes and Baer (1977) has gained attention when studying ORF. In this approach learners are exposed to multiple examples of correct responding to increase the likelihood of this responding transferring to novel or unlearned stimulus conditions. …

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