Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Indicating Factors of Oral Reading Fluency of Monolingual and Bilingual Children in Egypt

Academic journal article International Education Studies

The Indicating Factors of Oral Reading Fluency of Monolingual and Bilingual Children in Egypt

Article excerpt

Abstract

This study examined oral reading fluency (ORF) of bilingual and monolingual students. The author selected a sample of 510 (258 males and 252 females) native Arabic-speaking sixth-graders (62 bilinguals and 448 monolinguals) in Egypt. The purposes were; (a) to examine oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, prosody, and oral reading comprehension as indicating factors in ORF, and b) to investigate the impact of bilingual education on students' ORF in Arabic. Participants individually completed the author-developed Oral Reading Fluency Measure. Results indicated a very good fit between the proposed model and the observed data i.e., oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, prosody, and oral reading comprehension are significant indicators of ORF. Interestingly, results revealed that the bilingual students performed better than their monolingual counterparts on oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, and prosody but not on oral reading comprehension. The discussion concludes that (a) in addition to oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, and prosody, oral reading comprehension is a significant indicating factor of ORF, (b) learning a second language, English, has a positive effect on ORF in the first language, Arabic, and (c) the nature of Arabic orthography is an indispensible factor when examining ORF in science of reading.

Keywords: oral reading fluency, oral reading comprehension, oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, prosody, bilingual education, Arabic orthography

(ProQuest: ... denotes non-US-ASCII text omitted.)

1. Introduction

It is well-established that fluency plays a critical role in improving overall reading competence (e.g., L. Fuchs, D. Fuchs, Hosp, & Jenkins, 2001; Rasinski, Rikli, & Johnston, 2009; Rasinski, Samuels, Hiebert, Petscher, & Feller, 2011). A review of the literature suggests that oral reading fluency (ORF) refers to reading text quickly, accurately, with good prosody, and with comprehension (e.g., Abdelbari, 2011; Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006; Hudson, Lane, & Pullen, 2005; Hudson, Pullen, Lane, & Torgesen, 2008; Hussien, 2011; Kuhn, Schwanenflugel, & Meisineger, 2010; McKenna, 2002; McKenna & Stahi, 2003; McShane, 2005; Pikulski & Chard, 2005; Rasinski, 2004; Valencia et al., 2010). Previous research, usually in English, provides considerable knowledge about oral reading accuracy, oral reading rate and prosody as indicating variables in ORF. Much less is known, however, about oral reading comprehension as an indicating factor in ORF (University of Oregon, 2008). In addition, there is a rising interest in the last decade in ORF internationally, with respect to English. Much less attention, however, is dedicated to ORF of Arabic-speaking students (Abdelbari, 2011; Abu-Hajaj, 1999, 2006; Bilal, 2009; Fadal-Allah, 2004; Majawor, 1998). Furthermore, the public education in Egypt, the context of the current study, involves two types of schools mainly monolingual schools and fewer of bilingual schools. The purposes of the study were: (a) to examine oral reading rate, oral reading accuracy, prosody, and oral reading comprehension as indicating factors in ORF, and (b) to investigate the impact of bilingual education on students' ORF in Arabic.

1.1 The Orthography of Arabic

In this context, it is important to consider the nature of Arabic orthography since the majority of studies mentioned on ORF has been carried out in English. Arabic is a Semitic language that has unique characteristics. It consists of 28 letters and is read and written from right to left. Its letters are attached to one another and they take different appearances, though the main form is maintained, as a function of their connection to preceding or following letters. Additionally, 15 letters are companied by dots: one, two, or three that are written above or below of a certain letter to distinguish between the letters that take the same form e.g., . …

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