Fluency and Comprehension Gains as a Result of Repeated Reading

NICHCY’s Structured Abstract 55 describes the following:

Title | Fluency and Comprehension Gains as a Result of Repeated Reading

Author | Therrien, W.J.

Source Remedial and Special Education, 25(4), 252-261.

Year Published | 2004

Abstract
Repeated reading is an evidenced-based strategy designed to increase reading fluency and comprehension. The author conducted a meta-analysis to ascertain essential instructional components of repeated reading and the effect of repeated reading on reading fluency and comprehension. This analysis indicates that repeated reading can be used effectively with nondisabled students and students with learning disabilities to increase reading fluency and comprehension on a particular passage and as an intervention to increase overall fluency and comprehension ability. Essential instructional components of repeated reading varied as a function of the type of repeated reading (i.e., whether effectiveness was evaluated reading the same passage or different passages). Implications for future research are also presented. (Abstract from Author)

Background
Repeated reading is a strategic approach designed to increase reading fluency and comprehension. During repeated reading, students read and re-read a selected short passage until they reach a satisfactory level of fluency. This simple fluency exercise is one of the most studied. The author selected the repeated reading technique for this meta-analysis to determine the essential instructional components of repeated reading and the effect of repeated reading on reading fluency and comprehension.

Research Questions

  1. Is repeated reading effective in increasing reading fluency and comprehension?
  2. What components within a repeated reading intervention are critical to the success of the program?
  3. Do students with cognitive disabilities benefit from repeated reading?

Research Design
Meta-Analysis*

  • Number of Studies Included | 18
  • Number of Subjects | N/A
  • Years Spanned | 1977-2001

Research Subjects
School-aged students with learning disabilities.

Age/Grade of Subjects
Students ranged in age from 5 to 18 years old.

Specified Disability
Learning Disabilities (LD)

Intervention
Participants of the study used a variety of reading intervention strategies. The strategies were classified as non-transfer strategies (i.e., measures of students’ ability to fluently read or comprehend the same passage after reading it multiple times) or transfer strategies (i.e., measures of students’ ability to fluently read or comprehend a passage after having read different passages multiple times). Components of non-transfer strategies often included cued reading, corrective feedback, and performance criteria. Components of transfer strategies included adult or peer interventions, modeling, corrective feedback, performance criteria, comprehension, and charting.

Duration of Intervention
Mean = 36 sessions

Findings
Findings from this analysis indicated that repeated reading improved the reading fluency and comprehension of students with and without learning disabilities. Essential components of effective repeated reading instruction included (a) having students read aloud to adults; (b) having students read the passage 3 to 4 times; (c) cuing students before reading to focus on either reading for speed or reading for comprehension, or both; and (d) corrective feedback provided during or after the repeated reading.

Combined Effects Size
Cohen’s (1988) criteria for interpreting effect sizes (small ES < 0.20; medium ES = 0.50; large ES >0.80) were used to gauge the magnitude of the findings. Across all non-transfer measures the mean fluency-increase effect size was 0.83, and mean comprehension ES increase was 0.67. Across all transfer measures the mean fluency-increase effect size was 0.50, and mean comprehension ES increase was 0.25.

Conclusion/Recommendations
Repeated reading improves the reading fluency and comprehension of students with and without learning disabilities, not only on the passages with which students previously used the strategy, but also with new passages. Several instructional components are found to be essential to the success of repeated reading. First, adult-led repeated reading leads to significantly greater gains than do interventions led by peers. This finding indicates that adults, rather than peers, should implement repeated reading. Corrective feedback and opportunities for the student to reread the passage until a set criterion is reached also have a significant positive impact on students’ progress during repeated reading. When students are cued to focus on either speed or comprehension, before they begin reading, their rates in both areas increase. The greatest improvements are seen when students are cued to focus on comprehension alone or on both fluency and comprehension together.

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Meta-Analysis | A widely-used research method in which (1) a systematic and reproducible search strategy is used to find as many studies as possible that address a given topic; (2) clear criterion are presented for inclusion/exclusion of individual studies into a larger analysis; and (3) results of included studies are statistically combined to determine an overall effect (effect size) of one variable on another.

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