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IES Grant

Title: Exploring Reading Fluency and Its Underlying Behaviors
Center: NCER Year: 2010
Principal Investigator: Ardoin, Scott Awardee: University of Georgia
Program: Cognition and Student Learning      [Program Details]
Award Period: 4 years Award Amount: $1,513,518
Type: Exploration Award Number: R305A100496

Co-Principal Investigator: Katherine S. Binder, Mount Holyoke College

Purpose: Extensive evidence exists demonstrating the benefit of repeated reading for increasing the oral reading rates of elementary students. As a result of the research base and an increased interest in promoting students' reading rate with accuracy, schools are increasingly using repeated reading instructional procedures as a means of increasing students' reading fluency. Extant research has primarily focused on the impact of repeated reading on the oral reading rate, accuracy and comprehension of practiced text, but has not adequately examined the underlying factors that contribute to increased reading fluency across materials, and whether these factors might be similarly changed through guided wide readings. The purpose of this study is to explore the relationship between malleable instructional practices aimed at improving fluency, changes in fluency, and changes in underlying reading behavior (e.g., reading for meaning) as measured through eye-tracking.

Project Activities: This project seeks to explore differences in two instructional conditions, repeated readings (RR), a commonly used instructional practice in which students re-read a given passage four times, and guided wide reading (GWR) in which students read materials only once. Specifically, the researchers will explore (a) what underlying behaviors (such as fixation duration and regressions), measured through eye movements, change to produce greater reading fluency and do these changes differ as a function of malleable instructional procedures; (b) changes in elementary aged students' reading behavior related to reading rate, reading accuracy, orthographic abilities, morphological awareness, and prosody—expression of reading; and (c) how altering malleable instructional procedures might result in further changes in underlying reading behavior.

Across two phases of the project, all instructional procedures will be implemented with second grade students. In Phase I, researchers will explore whether RR or GWR (or neither) are associated with improvements in students' reading outcomes and changes in their on-line reading behaviors as compared to each other and a business as usual condition. In Phase II, researchers will explore whether altering procedures designed to promote reading fluency will help to further enhance changes in underlying behavior observed during Phase I that might otherwise be inhibited by current fluency based instructional practices.

Products: The products of this project will be published reports detailing a set of experimental data that identifies whether repeated reading or guided wide reading leads to improved reading outcomes across a range of measures, and whether repeated reading and guided wide reading promote transfer and maintenance of fluency when combined. Findings from this exploratory study will have direct implications regarding the implementation of fluency based instruction as well as the development of materials designed to promote fluency gains.

Structured Abstract

Setting: Participating students attend schools in a rural school district in Georgia.

Population: In Phase I, study participants include 168 second graders whose first language is English, who are not identified as having special education needs, and whose reading is not yet fluent. In Phase II, 150 second grade students will participate in the study.

Intervention: This exploratory study will provide RR and GWR in materials selected from a variety of reading curriculums not being used by the school district. During RR students will read all passages four times and will receive feedback regarding their accuracy and reading rate and will be provided with error correction procedures. The GWR condition will differ only in that students will read each passage one time, thus allowing them the opportunity to read a wider variety of materials.

Research Design and Methods: In Phase I, seven research questions will be explored. Students will be randomly assigned to one of three ten-week instructional conditions (RR, GWR, business as usual [BU]). Students at the selected schools will receive 90 minutes of reading instruction per day, with instruction consisting of teacher directed large and small group instruction and silent sustained reading (SSR). The researchers will explore (a) what underlying behaviors (such as fixation duration and regressions), measured through eye movements, are associated with greater reading fluency and whether these changes differ as a function of participation in RR, GWR or BUD, and (b) what changes in elementary aged students' reading behavior related to reading rate, reading accuracy, orthographic abilities, morphological awareness, and prosody—expression of reading are seen as a function of instructional condition.

In Phase II, students will be assigned to one of three two-week conditions. Across these conditions students will read experimentally developed passages that contain words that vary in terms of frequency within second grade text (i.e., high and low frequency words). Conditions will vary in the degree to which students practice target words in the same or different text. Students will either (a) practice target words within one text, thus increasing the chances that students recognize and read words correctly on subsequent readings, (b) practice target words always presented in different text, or (c) first practice words multiple times in one text and then practice the target words presented in different text. The team will then explore whether these changes are associated with changes in underlying reading behavior.

Control Condition: Conditions depend on the phase of the study and include business-as-usual (Phase I) as well as various combinations and sequencing of the treatment interventions (Phase II).

Key Measures and Data Sources: A curriculum-based measure in reading (CBM-R) survey level assessment will be conducted with each student prior to the beginning of instructional implementation and again five weeks into instructional implementation, to ensure that students are being provided with instruction in appropriate materials. Students' reading level (CBM-R universal screening) and growth (CBM-R progress monitoring) in oral reading rate/accuracy will be measured. Other dependent variables include reading fluency (rate and accuracy); underlying reading behaviors (phonological decoding, orthographic abilities, morphological awareness, and prosody—expression of reading, curriculum-based measurement-reading, and measures of on-line reading using eye-tracking technology); reading comprehension, maintenance, and transfer.

Data Analytic Strategy: Analyses in Phase I will be conducted across seven research questions to examine whether observed changes in reading behavior and outcomes are a function of receiving any fluency instruction (i.e., RR and GWR) or if changes are related to a specific instructional condition. Each research question in Phase I will be analyzed using analysis of covariance. For example, the first of seven research questions will involve comparing two time periods (pre- and post-intervention) across three conditions (RR, GWR, and BU). Using students' broad reading score from the Woodcock Johnson III Test of Achievement as a covariate, researchers will examine differences among groups. Dependent measures on the target words include: first fixation duration, gaze duration, total time, and number of regressions. Similar analyses will be used in Phase II, but researchers will explore differences in students' reading of target words when target words are presented in unpracticed text.


Journal article, monograph, or newsletter

Ardoin, S.P., Binder, K.S., Foster, T., and Zawoyski, A.M. (2016). Repeated Versus Wide Reading: A Randomized Control Trial Study Examining the Impact of Fluency Interventions on Underlying Reading Behavior. Journal of School Psychology, 59: 13–38.

Ardoin, S.P., Binder, K.S., Zawoski, A.M., Foster, T.E., and Blevins, L.A. (2013). Using Eye-Tracking Procedures to Evaluate Generalization Effects: Practicing Target Words During Repeated Readings Within Versus Across Texts. School Psychology Review, 42(4): 477–495.

Ardoin, S.P., Morena, L., Binder, K.S., and Foster, T. (2013). Examining the Impact of Feedback and Repeated Readings on Oral Reading Fluency: Let's not Forget Prosody. School Psychology Quarterly, 28(4): 391–404.

Binder, K.S., Tighe, E., Jiang, Y., Kaftanski, K., Qi, C., and Ardoin, S.P. (2013). Reading Expressively and Understanding Thoroughly: An Examination of Prosody in Adults with Low Literacy Skills. Reading and Writing: An Interdisciplinary Journal, 26(5): 665–680.

Foster, T., Ardoin, S.P., and Binder, K.S. (2013). Underlying Changes in Repeated Reading: An Eye Movement Study. School Psychology Review, 42(2): 140–156.

Nguyen, K.-V., Binder, K.S., Zawoyski, A., Foster, T., and Blevins, L. (2014). Gotcha! Catching Kids during Mindless Reading. Scientific Studies of Reading, 18(4): 274–290.

Valle, A., Binder, K.S., Walsh, C.B., Nemier, C., and Bangs, K.E. (2013). Eye Movements, Prosody, and Word Frequency Among Average and High Skilled Second Grade Readers. School Psychology Review, 42(2): 171–190.

Zawoyski, A.M., Ardoin, S.P., and Binder, K.S. (2015). Using Eye Tracking to Observe Differential Effects of Repeated Readings for Second-grade Students as a Function of Achievement Level. Reading Research Quarterly, 50(2): 171–184.