Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Comparing the Efficiency of Repeated Reading and Listening-While-Reading to Improve Fluency and Comprehension

Academic journal article Education & Treatment of Children

Comparing the Efficiency of Repeated Reading and Listening-While-Reading to Improve Fluency and Comprehension

Article excerpt


An alternating treatments design was used to compare the effects of two reading fluency interventions on the oral reading fluency and maze accuracy of four fourth-grade students. Also, by taking into account time spent in intervention, the efficiency of the two interventions was compared. In the adult-mediated repeated reading (RR) condition, students read a grade-level passage aloud to an adult. The adult provided the students with error correction of oral reading miscues. In the listening-while-reading (LWR) condition, students read along aloud with audio recorded readings of passages using an MP3 player. The RR and LWR conditions had similar effects on reading fluency for three participants and the RR was more effective for one participant. When accounting for instructional time, the LWR condition was more efficient at improving reading fluency for three of the four participants. The same pattern of results was evident in Maze comprehension data. Discussion will emphasize the need to consider instructional time when selecting interventions.


Since the reauthorization of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Improvement Act (IDEIA) in 2004, schools are increasingly focused on providing students with empirically supported instruction and intervention services (IDEIA, 2004). At the same time, funding to support the implementation of high quality instructional and intervention support has become increasingly limited. Many schools are severely limited financially and are struggling to meet the high expectations for student performance with fewer resources.

There is general consensus among researchers and practitioners on components that constitute effective reading instruction (i.e., phonemic awareness, alphabetic principle, fluency, vocabulary, comprehension; International Dyslexia Association, 2010; National Reading Panel [NRP], 2000). Reasonably established are effective procedures to strengthen reading fluency and enhance comprehension (see Daly, Chafouleas, & Skinner, 2005; Shapiro, 2004, for examples of such evidence-based techniques). One widely implemented intervention for increasing reading fluency is repeated reading (RR). This curricular supplement requires students to reread passages with error correction until they achieve a desired level of decoding accuracy and fluency. A meta-analysis of RR studies concluded that RR effectively improves the reading fluency and comprehension of students, regardless of disability status (Therrien, 2004). Overall, gains in reading fluency were more significant than gains in comprehension. Another reading fluency intervention is listening-while-reading (LWR). The LWR intervention requires a student to read a passage (aloud or silently) while the text is read aloud by a fluent model. Research indicates that LWR may be applied to improve oral reading fluency (Daly & Martens, 1994; Lionetti & Cole, 2004; Rasinski, 1990; Rose, 1984; Rose & Sherry, 1984; Skinner, Cooper, & Cole, 1997). In addition, some researchers have found positive intervention effects on overall comprehension (Hale et al., 2005; Schmitt, McCallum, Hale, Obeldobel, & Dingus, 2009; Skinner, Robinson, Adamson, Atchison, & Woodward, 1998). Although RR and LWR interventions do not explicitly target reading comprehension, their resulting positive effects on comprehension may be due to increased reading fluency (Morgan & Sideridis, 2006; Therrien, 2004) and/or repeated exposure to reading material content (Hawkins, Musti-Rao, Hale, McGuire, & Hailley, 2010).

Identifying Efficient Interventions

Although it is important to identify interventions that can effectively improve student reading performance, it is also important to identify interventions that can efficiently address students' skill deficits. Two important factors to consider when evaluating efficiency are resources and time. Resources can include instructional materials needed to implement an intervention, money required to purchase materials, and staff needed to implement an intervention. …

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