This article highlights the use of assessment as a strategy to achieve more effective reading fluency outcomes. Appropriate and thorough assessment practices can identify underlying difficulties that manifest as slowed oral reading rates. An intervention that systematically addresses the word reading difficulties often associated with a lack of oral reading fluency is described.
Authors: Maria S. Murray, Kristen A. Munger & Sheila M. Clonan
Source: Murray, M.S.; Munger, K.A.; Clonan, S.M. (2012). Assessment as a strategy to increase oral reading fluency. Intervention in School and Clinic, 47(144), originally published online 7 October 2011. DOI: 10.1177/1053451211423812
For students with reading disabilities who experience difficulties with oral reading fluency, school-based interventions frequently focus on increasing speed through interventions such as repeated reading of texts. This article highlights the use of assessment as a strategy to achieve more effective reading fluency outcomes. Appropriate and thorough assessment practices can identify underlying difficulties that manifest as slowed oral reading rates. An intervention that systematically addresses the word reading difficulties often associated with a lack of oral reading fluency is described.
This article is concerned with students whose fluency difficulties are rooted in inaccurate and laborious reading of words. To illustrate how an intervention aimed at improving the accurate, effortless, reading of words and text can improve fluency (and comprehension), an example case is provided. This example highlights the value of using assessments to look closely for the underlying cause (or causes) of non-fluent reading when designing an effective intervention. In the intervention, graduate-level practicum students (tutors) are paired with children who experience problems with reading. Using specific assessments, the tutors come to understand the connection between word reading difficulties and slowed or poor fluency as well as how to develop targeted and effective interventions. For one semester twice a week, tutors met one-on-one with students.
Case sample ‘Devan’
The six syllable patterns
Conclusions and implications
Like many students with reading disabilities, Devan had a slow reading rate. The school’s intervention consisted primarily of repeated practice reading-level texts. However, Devan failed to make the type of progress he needed to catch up to his more fluent peers, suggesting that he was not responding to the repeated reading fluency-only intervention. It was only after more targeted assessment and intervention addressing his underlying word reading difficulties that Devan showed improvements in reading rate, word recognition accuracy, and reading comprehension. Helping students become more fluent readers is too often misconstrued as a ‘need for speed’ and is addressed with interventions based on the singular goal of increasing students’ reading rate. Without adequate background assessment, many teachers may not realise the limitations of oral reading fluency data, and they may also fail to gather additional data to assist them in making effective instructional decisions. Professional development providing support to educators is necessary to help them appropriately link assessment and instruction. Such opportunities would help to bridge the research-to-practice gap demonstrated in the example provided here, and increase the likelihood that readers like Devan receive interventions that target areas of need leading to significant, meaningful growth.