Reading Fluency as an Indicator of Reading Comprehension

By Basaran, Mustafa | Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri, Autumn 2013 | Go to article overview

Reading Fluency as an Indicator of Reading Comprehension


Basaran, Mustafa, Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri


Abstract

This study examined the relationship between fourth grade primary school students' reading habits/conditions/ situations and their comprehension regarding what they read. For this purpose, a correlational survey method was used in the study. 90 fourth-grade students who were attending a state primary school in the center of Kütahya participated to the study. Firstly, there are four separate tests: a fill in the blank test which measures reading as a process, a short answer test which measures remembering, multiple choice test which measures both superficial and in-depth meaning linking and open-ended questions which measure meaning linking skills ) were administered to the students. Then, students were asked to read loudly 409-word narrative text and students' voices were recorded. The records were analyzed by experts to determine the number of words that students read per minute, students' reading mistakes and their prosody. Pearson correlation analysis was used to determine the relationship between fluent reading skills and reading comprehension. Moreover, multiple regression analysis was conducted to examine the predictive power of reading skills for comprehension. The findings of the study demonstrated that fluent reading was an indicator of comprehending; prosody predicted in-depth meaning linking better than the other fluent reading skills; correct reading skills predicted superficial meaning linking better. The findings also revealed that there was a weak correlation between reading speed and comprehension.

Key Words

Prosody, Reading Fluency, Reading Comprehension, Reading Measurement and Evaluation.

The Measurement of Reading

When the relevant literature was examined, it is seen that there are many approaches for measuring the reading skill. It is possible to classify these approaches as traditional and contemporary approaches (Aslanoglu, 2007). Measuring mostly low level mental skills (i.e. recognizing word, phonetic knowledge, spelling, memory etc.) is the base in traditional approach (Levande, 1993). According to contemporary approaches used for the measurement of the reading, the main aim should be to identify to what extent students use reading comprehension skill in real life situations (Ozuru, Rowe, O'Reilly, & McNamara, 2008; Pearson & Valencia, 1988)

Whether it is the process or result of the reading should be evaluated as the other most important point that should be taken into account while deciding how and for what the reading skill will be measured. Reading is a process mostly with cognitive aspects including the perception of written symbols, to know letters voice, the comprehension of information, relating this information both with interlocutors and other prior knowledge; it also encompasses emotional and psychomotor behaviors. Therefore, reading as a result can be evaluated understanding, comprehending and using the information mentioned or implied in the text (Razi, 2008).

Fluent Reading

It is possible to meet many definition of reading fluency in relevant literature. For example, Samuels (2006) defined reading fluency as comprehending the text when vocalizing. Vilger (2008) explained it as the reading of the readers in an appropriate speed and accurate manner with his/her natural voice. Allington (2006) also described reading fluency as expressing the meaning in the text with an appropriate voice tone with prozody. Hasbrouck and Tindal (2006); Fuchs, Fuchs, Hosp, and Jenkins (2009) added to this definitions that fluency in reading is the indicator all other components of reading including comprehension. In this respect, not reading fluently may be defined as making many reading mistakes reading monotony and with an unnatural voice, intermittent and very slowly (Allington, 2006; Vilger, 2008).

It can be said that there is consensus about what the necessary reading skills are for observing fluent reading. These include accuracy (knowing the word), reading speed (automaticity), and prozody (Allington, 2006; Bashir & Hook, 2009; Fuchs, Fuchs, Hamlett, Walz, & Germann, 1993; Hasbrouck & Tindal, 2006; Hudson, Lane, & Pullen, 2005; Klauda & Guthrie, 2008; Pikulski & Chard, 2005; Rasinski, 1989, 2004; Vilger, 2008). …

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