Reading Fluency and Students' Reading Comprehension in Elementary School

Reading Fluency and Students' Reading Comprehension in Elementary School

First Author: France Dubé -- Universite du Quebec a Montreal
Additional authors/chairs: 
Chantal Ouellet; Lyne Bessette
Keywords: Fluency, Reading comprehension, Struggling reader subgroups, Response to Intervention, reading strategies
Abstract / Summary: 

Many young students experience significant problems in reading, a factor that may lead to latter learning difficulties and even drop out of school (Hernandez, 2011). Students who lack reading fluency will find it more difficult to understand a text (Jenkins et al., 2003). Explicit teaching would be particularly effective in teaching students at risk (Swanson and Deshler 2003). This research studies the effects of a reading program with educational activities that target specific strategies on fluency and reading comprehension. Our objectives were to: 1. Improve the reading fluency of elementary school students at risk or with difficulties and 2. Improve elementary school students’ reading comprehension. The program is being piloted from 3th to 4th grade (n = 56). In the present research, the teaching specialist and the four teachers proposed activities whose aim was to develop fluency in the 3 tiers of the RTI model (Fuchs, Fuchs, and Vaughn 2008). A pretest and a posttest were administered to evaluate all students' reading fluency as well as a pre and a post reading comprehension test to track the students' progress. In order to assess the overall performance of students, we selected three components to measure their fluency: their accuracy, their speed and their prosody (Daane et al. 2005). We obtained a significance value of P = 0.000 * for Tier 1 in 3rd grade for fluency. We obtained P = 0.001* for Tier 1 in 3rd grade for comprehension; in 4th grade, Tier 1 obtain P = 0.000* in fluency and P = 0.039* in comprehension. There is a significant difference between the pre-test and the post-test, but no significant thresholds for the other Tiers. We can indeed conclude the positive effects of this intervention in the fluency and reading comprehension skills of students; however, consideration should be given to review the organization of this explicit teaching program for students in Tier 2 and 3.